The days when all podcast subscriptions are free in iTunes could be coming to an end. Apple’s new Podcasts app for iOS 6 includes a “redeem” button according to Cult of Mac (via AppleInsider), suggesting that fee-based subscriptions could be coming this fall.
Since the iTunes Store launched in 2001, Apple has refused to allow podcasters to charge for their media. This rule has held in the iOS 5.1 version of Podcasts, which Apple released earlier this week to the public.
However, in the app version currently being tested by developers in iOS 6 beta 2, this rule seems to have been broken. The redeem button suggests we’ll soon be able to download paid podcast subscriptions.
With Apple’s current rule in place, many podcasters have employed workarounds such as in-show advertising or website donations to make money. In addition, some podcasters have released separate apps to make money.
A good example of this is the Radiolab app by the folks at New York Public Radio. The $2.99 app launched earlier this month.
With these workarounds proving quite successful and lucrative, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Apple were to finally allow fee-based podcast subscriptions. After all, the company would make 30 percent on each podcast subscription sold.
As AppleInsider suggests:
It is possible that the iPod maker could be mulling over a royalty-based distribution model much akin to how iTunes handles music, movies and books. Whether a new pricing scheme will have an effect on downloads is also unknown, though podcasters could see equal or higher revenues under the speculated system even with a smaller audience.
Personally, I’m surprised Apple hasn’t already allowed fee-based podcast subscriptions, given the growing popularity and advent of video podcasts, for example. Now it looks like that time will finally come when iOS 6 is released to the public later this fall.
We’ll keep you updated.
Would you pay for podcasts?