Spotify vs Apple: Video Podcasts For Free (And For All)

Tech Industry

Spotify expanded access to video podcasting for creators today, making the capability generally available for anyone in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Spotify launched video podcasts in 2020, expanded access in October 2021 to vetted creators (full disclosure, my TechFirst podcast was granted early access as well). The company says that this has taught them that not only do podcasters like adding video to their audio podcasts, but “fans love having the opportunity to more deeply connect with the content.”

Video is available on Apple Podcasts as well, though it’s almost a hidden feature, but seems to be only an option in Apple’s Podcasts Connect dashboard after podcasters upgrade to a paid Apple Podcasters Program. The cost is fairly nominal — $20 in the U.S. — but could be prohibitive to beginning podcasters. The annual fee is primarily connected to Apple Podcast features such as premium episodes and paid podcast subscriptions.

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Spotify is launching availability of podcast subscriptions for video podcasts as well today, “empowering creators to own their monetization model by creating exclusive content, gating video, and more.” Spotify platform-native features, like polls and questions and answers, will also work with videos, and creators will get video analytics as well as the ability to retroactively add video to older episodes.

“Spotify believes that there is a massive opportunity for creators in video podcasts, especially when combined with the forward-thinking features we’re already powering for audio,” the company said in a statement. “We are constantly empowering them to reach new global audiences, own how they monetize their content and interact with fans in new ways.”

Pure audio is still available, of course, which is useful for active listeners or those who need a lower-bandwidth solution.

Spotify enables the capability with its owned podcast distribution platform Anchor, and has partnered with cloud-based video and audio recording platform Riverside to offer a free start-up option for new creators.

There’s no word yet on expansion of these features beyond English-speaking countries, however. The delay is likely related to availability of content moderation and curation capabilities.

While Spotify is primarily combatting Apple Podcasts, Google’s YouTube should keep an eye out as well. Some large YouTube channels are primarily podcast-based, and Spotify’s moves might draw some of that audience out of YouTube and onto Spotify.

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