Apple announces subscription Podcast service

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Apple has unveiled a new subscription podcast service to rival that of Spotify. Users will get early access to episodes, and be able to support podcast creators.

At its "Spring Loaded" event, and as previously rumored, Apple launched a new podcast service bringing shows exclusively to subscribers. The new service will not come with one single, overall subscription fee, but rather users will be able to pay for each show they choose to subscribe to.

"We're also introducing Apple podcast subscriptions, which enables you to unlock new content as well as additional benefits like ad free listening, early access, and much more" said Tim Cook. "So now you can help your favourite podcasters build their business, and fuel their creativity."

"Apple podcast subscriptions launches in 170 regions and countries next month," continued Cook. "These major updates will make listening to podcasts, easier and more enjoyable than ever before."

Apple did not specify any pricing or bundling details during the launch, nor give a more specific launch date. However, it has published details for podcast creators who want to join the subscription service.

"Pricing for each subscription is set by creators and billed monthly by default," says Apple. "Creators can additionally offer annual billing, which subscribers can manage from their Apple ID account settings, now accessible from Listen Now."

"Listeners will also be able to access free trials and sample episodes offered by creators," it continues. "Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share a subscription."

The new subscription podcasts follow Apple Music rival Spotify's increased focus on spoken word content. Research firm eMarketer has claimed that more people will listen to podcasts on Spotify than on Apple.

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