Manage Your Podcast

Insights to help launch a successful subscription on Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions launched worldwide in spring 2021 and it has been exciting to see thousands of shows with premium experiences launch to millions of listeners around the world. Here are a few key learnings to help you create subscriptions that resonate with audiences.

1. Launching a subscription grows the total audience.

A common question from creators considering a subscription is “how might introducing a subscription affect my existing listenership?”

When looking at the top 50 subscriptions that had shows with existing audiences on Apple Podcasts, the results are positive. On average, the total audience increased in the four weeks after a subscription launch.

Why? Launching a subscription serves as a marketing campaign for the show overall. Creators do not face a trade-off between the reach of a show and generating revenue on Apple Podcasts.

2. Subscriptions integrated into the largest shows convert the best.

For creators with multiple shows in a channel, listener adoption improves when subscriptions are integrated into the most-listened-to shows. The more listeners that encounter a subscription — including promotions for the subscription in audio, episode notes, and banners — the more free listeners convert to paying subscribers.

Put simply: more listeners equal more impressions which equals more subscribers.

3. Early and exclusive access are the best performing subscriber benefits.

Creators are experimenting with a wide range of benefits for subscriptions across single shows and channels. Early access, such as a two-week window, and exclusive content, such as a weekly bonus episode, are the best benefits for converting free listeners to paying subscribers.

This is driven by a few factors. Distinctive content and premium access outperform ad-free listening in terms of promotional visibility and the resulting impact on conversion. Also, free listeners encounter a compelling visual prompt when attempting to play subscriber-only audio on Apple Podcasts. 

4. Releasing new subscriber content with a consistent cadence increases subscription sign-ups.

The most successful subscriptions incorporate benefits on a consistent cadence, ensuring there is always a premium benefit available to current and new listeners.

As creators clearly and consistently state the frequency of subscription benefits (for example, “New episodes for subscribers are released every Thursday”), the more likely free listeners will become paying subscribers and remain happily subscribed.

We see a strong correlation between new episode releases and subscriptions, and for creators with multiple shows an even stronger correlation between new show launches and subscriptions.

5. Among the best performing creators, more than 10% of listeners have signed up for a subscription.

One of the most important questions podcasters have about subscriptions is “how many subscribers will I get?” 

In the six months following the launch of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, one in five subscriptions enjoy an adoption rate of more than 10%. This is an extraordinary and encouraging trend that speaks to the unique potential to build a meaningful subscription business on Apple Podcasts. There is no better place to offer premium audio than where listening and purchasing is already a frequent and trusted experience.

If you’re ready to get started, set up your show for a subscription and watch this overview of how subscriptions and channels work. If you have any questions or any tips that might be helpful to other creators, contact us

Note: These early insights have been gathered by looking at aggregated data across all subscriptions on the platform between May and December 2021, unless stated otherwise, and are focused on freemium subscriptions, where creators keep existing content free and provide additional benefits for paying subscribers.