Apple appears to be considering a podcast subscription plan. It’s in talks with production companies about the potential service, according to The Information. However, the publication notes Apple often explores ideas for media offerings, and it’s not clear if or when a premium podcast service will actually emerge.
Given that Apple played an important role in popularizing podcasts with the iPod and iTunes, it makes sense that it's interested in creating a premium service. Though the company hasn't attempted to make money from podcasts yet, services are increasingly important to Apple's bottom line. Apple Podcasts is also said to be the most widely used podcasting app.
Spotify has reportedly considered a separate subscription for exclusive podcasts as well. The streaming giant has invested heavily into podcasts over the last few years. It has spent over $800 million on snapping up podcast companies and securing deals with the likes of Joe Rogan, the Obamas and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Some other podcast services have locked certain shows behind paywalls, including Luminary and Stitcher (which SiriusXM acquired last year). Amazon is also making waves in the podcast world, as it recently bought the Wondery network.
Apple moved into podcast production last year with an interview series featuring Apple Music radio host Zane Lowe. Last May, Bloomberg reported that Apple was looking to buy podcasts and make them exclusives, and to develop spinoff and companion podcasts for Apple TV+ shows and movies.