Spotify has been investing heavily in podcasts over the last couple of years, with a number of high-profile shows now Spotify exclusives. It would seem the next step in the strategy could be to roll out a subscription package solely for podcast content.
As spotted by Variety's Andrew Wallenstein and shared on Twitter, Spotify has been pushing out surveys to some of its users asking how they'd feel about paying extra for their podcasts – which at the moment are free to listen to inside Spotify, with ads attached.
Across plans ranging from $2.99 to $7.99 a month (that's about £2-6 or AU$4-11), Spotify suggests exclusive originals, bonus content, early access to episodes and the removal of ads could be some of the reasons for users to pay extra.
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This is by no means confirmation that a podcast subscription package is on the way of course, but it suggests Spotify is thinking about it – and the company is always going to be looking to squeeze more money out of its userbase.
Planning for the future
At the moment, you can listen to podcasts through the Spotify apps whether or not you've signed up for a Premium subscription. Spotify uses a smart ad system to embed targeted advertising inside podcasts, tailored for the people who are listening to it.
While that option is likely to stay in place, it might be that some listeners are happy to pay extra to get rid of those ads and have an uninterrupted listening experience. Based on the survey. it looks as though some other goodies would be thrown in too.
The material sent out by Spotify suggests that the podcast subscription would remain separate to a music subscription, so the two wouldn't be bundled together – but that might be something else that Spotify looks at further down the line.
In a non-committal statement to The Verge, Spotify said that surveys may or may not point towards future product plans, and that there was no news to share at this time. It looks as though 2021 will be another interesting year for streaming services.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.