What I’d prefer to see is Apple work on improving the standards for podcast feeds and how they display shows in their directory that third party apps can access. For example, if I’m listening to an episode of Connected, then I should be able to find in the podcast app I’m using a way to subscribe to Connected Pro from the app. This would require the directory to understand that Connected and Connected Pro are the same show, but the Pro version is paid, it would require Apple’s and third party apps to display this premium option to users in the UI, it would require a link (or an API integration) out to the payment page to sign up for the premium version of the show, and it would need to allow for a form of authentication showing who has access to the premium feeds.
Apple should start supporting the Podcasting 2.0 namespace in Apple Podcasts and even dedicate some engineering time to help building out that standard. There is already a
funding tag, which can be used to link out to donation pages, online stores, premium versions of the podcast, or whatever monetization method the podcast author wants.
The link within that
funding tag can be surfaced wherever the podcast app chooses to — the now playing and episode description screens seem like logical places to start.
They could also do a lot to help with adoption of the
value tag. This would allow for integrating donations to podcast authors directly in the Apple Podcasts app, facilitated by Apple Wallet, which would allow Apple to take a small cut of the transaction to justify their investment in the features.
While all the other podcast services are trying to push the platform toward a more closed future, Apple should do the exact opposite. Put their efforts into making podcasting even more open and build tools and services around the ecosystem that allows them to monetize the efforts while leaning into what made podcasting so great in the first place.