New audio shows made in Cuba are finding a rapt audience and upending the island’s hyperpartisan media landscape.
Julie Salamon, the author of a 1991 book about the filming of “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” returns to Hollywood history — and her own.
The “Maintenance Phase” podcast interrogates the science behind health food trends, fad diets and popular nutritional advice.
Alex is on a well-deserved vacation this week, so for the Equity Wednesday deep dive, we took the conversation to Twitter Spaces. Danny, Mary Ann and Jonathan Metrick, the chief growth officer at Portage Ventures, dove into growth marketing. You can listen to the full episode on the Equity Podcast feed.
This conversation was spurred by the TechCrunch Experts project, where we’re looking for the best growth marketers for startups. Metrick was recommended to us in July (you can read his featured recommendation in our growth roundup) and we were eager to learn from his experience.
Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.
Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.
In this conversation, we cover:
- Influencers taking on the marketing world
- The challenges marketers face with iOS 14
- How Metrick sees trends developing geographically
- What holiday advertising might look like in 2021
- How to build a growth marketing team
“I got fevers, sweats, and I knew what was going on,” he said in a video on Instagram on Wednesday, after returning from a series of shows in Florida.
The Equity crew felt that there was enough media news out recently that we simply had no choice but to fire up a Twitter Space and have a chat. The above episode is a discussion of a few things, in a loose and relaxed manner, so don’t take any of the Verizon jokes too seriously, Verizon, as we still work for you. For a few more days.
- Politico sells for $1 billion: Its new parent company Axel Springer is also buying the rest of Politico Europe and all of Protocol at the same time. This deal exploded everyone’s Twitter feed due to its scale, and the fact that it was one heck of an exit for a media company. One billion dollars? For media? In this economy? Yes!
- Forbes is going public via a SPAC: Yep, the venerable Forbes magazing and its enormous digital arm are taking the blank-check route to the public markets, which means that we got its numbers and time to stroll through them. Our take is that Forbes has done massive work to take its IRL brand and extend it into the digital world. The company has big plans to boot, and will be worth more than $800 million when it combines.
- Layoffs hit Vice: As Vice turns its focus to video content — you’ve heard this story before — it is shedding some of its editorial staff. The layoffs were a stinkbomb on Media Twitter after the other news of the week, but were sadly not a huge surprise. The company’s union decried them as something of a yearly recurrence. Not good, not good at all.
And there’s more media news to come. Our parent company Verizon Media is expected to close its sale to Apollo on September 1 or sometime soon after, which means we will either be hosting Equity regularly as always, or we’ll be hosting the RUDE (Recently Unemployed Due to (Private) Equity) podcast.
The reporting of Claire McNear, a journalist who had written a book on the game show, helped end Mike Richards’s hopes of succeeding Alex Trebek as its host.
These scripted shows will keep you absorbed whether you’re traveling, enjoying a staycation or just trying to avoid following the news.
A new portfolio from Opinion and the newsroom will expand our ambitions in an age-old medium.
The playwright Antoinette Nwandu is making her Broadway debut with “Pass Over” — and trying to change long-held precedents in the process.
A wife expresses her concerns for her husband’s anxious listening habits.
Spotify is taking a cue from social networks like Facebook which deliver a constant stream of notifications under a “bell” icon in the mobile app, with the goal of keeping users engaged with the latest content. This morning, Spotify introduced what it’s calling the “What’s New” feed, which will deliver an ongoing series of updates to mobile app users which are focused on new releases.
According to the company, the What’s New feed will serve as another way for Spotify users to keep up with all the new music and podcasts that are released from the shows and artists that you follow on the service. In other words, it’s a personalized feed based on what you listen to, not a universal feed or one you more explicitly customize by making specific selections.
The feed will be discoverable under the new “bell” icon that will appear at the top of the Home tab alongside the Recently Played and Settings icons on the top right.
The feed will be also updated in real-time, Spotify says, and will display a blue dot when there are new songs and episodes that have arrived since you last opened the app. Before, you could find information about new releases in various place in the app, including your Home tab and in hubs on the app’s Search page.
While the feature may be useful as it gives you a single place to look in the Spotify app for everything that’s new, the use of a “notifications” feature that leverages dots is also a psychological trick that people today understand can make apps more addictive. Dots express a sense of urgency — making you feel as if you need to click to see what’s new or even just to clear the dot. In fact, there was such a backlash against the overabundance of these dots inside social apps that even Facebook a couple of years ago rolled out tools that let you turn its annoying red notification dots off. (To be fair, Facebook hasn’t fully embraced red dot removal — the default is still set to “on” and there are plenty of notification dots all over its website today).
So while a seemingly minor addition to the Spotify app, it’s actually a quite calculated one — and one that steps back from the humane technology movement that emerged in recent years as a way to counter the overuse of growth hacks and other tricks to make apps more addictive.
Now, many companies are moving away from addictive features. Apple, for example, has added consumer-facing tools that put users back in control of when apps can notify them, including with the upcoming iOS 15 release which lets you bundle notifications into daily summaries for less important apps or switch into “Focus” modes for when you need fewer distractions. TikTok, meanwhile, inserts videos that remind you when you’ve been watching for too long. Instagram added a message at the end of your feed to let you know when you were “all caught up.”
Spotify, with the launch of a more attention-grabbing notifications feature, is doing the opposite — it wants to increase user engagement, even if it understands that it may be sacrificing some sense of user comfort and enjoyment in the process.
What’s New is rolling out to all users globally on iOS and Android over the next few weeks.
For his piercing insights on race and culture, Wesley Morris recently received his second Pulitzer Prize. But he won over colleagues long before that.
Mr. George, the co-host of “She Rates Dogs,” was struck as he crossed a street early on Saturday morning in Los Angeles, the authorities said.
In March 2021, we tested Lucyd Lyte Bluetooth sunglasses, a pair of shades with built-in off-ear headphones. Lucyd Lyte didn’t quite impress—mostly because their tiny built-in speakers are nearly as audible to everyone around you as they are to you. Today, we’re going to take a look at two models of bone-conduction headphones suggested to us in that review’s comment section—the AfterShokz Titanium and AfterShokz Air.
We purchased one each of the Titanium and Air in early March and have used them regularly in the months since. Bone-conduction headphones are definitely not for everyone—but they’re fantastic for people who need the particular mix of comfort, awareness of surroundings, and improved hygiene they offer.
Open, comfortable ears
Aftershokz headphones disappear pretty effectively on most users’ heads—despite hair ranging from quite short (pictured) to outright crew cut (current), my family rarely notices when mine are on. [credit: Jim Salter ]
It’s a sweltering day here in New York City, and that means Wall Street is on fire, and so is Robinhood, apparently. The popular stock trading app officially filed its Form S-1 with the SEC a few hours ago to go public, where it will trade under the ticker “HOOD.”
The Equity crew has been yammering about Robinhood for years now, and we have been chomping on the bit to see those S-1 results for what feels like ages. Well, we finally got the numbers, we chomped that bit (or at least Alex and Danny did, since Natasha went on vacation about 15 minutes before the IPO hit the wires), and so here’s a special Equity Shot to talk about all the highlights.
We talked about so much in an itsy-bitsy 15-minute episode: crazy revenue growth, crazy revenue concentration from two major sources, regulatory hurdles that the company has been clearing up, better financials with a bit of nuance on the company’s Q1 finances, and the company’s special plan for its IPO.
Here’s what we got up to:
- Historical growth and profitability.
- Revenue mix and revenue concentration, along with constituent concerns.
- The importance of options-related incomes for the company.
- Why the company’s adjusted income may help it assuage investors who have their eyes pop out of their skulls when they see its GAAP Q1 2021 results.
And a lot more. Of course, if you hate Robinhood, we will be back with our normally-scheduled Friday episode of Equity tomorrow.
On the new season of his podcast, the best-selling author and provocateur jousts with U.S. News & World Report and “The Little Mermaid,” among other adversaries.
He’s now one of the most consumed media products on the planet. His Spotify deal, estimated at $100 million, speaks to the allure of making audiences feel they’re in on something subversive.
ON this week’s episode of Found, we speak to Rob Schutz, co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Ro. Ro recently raised $500 million, bringing its total raised to date to near $1 billion. The digital healthcare startup now does everything from telehealth primary care, to operating physical pharmacies, but it originally began life as Roman, a startup addressing men’s health, and specifically, erectile dysfunction.
Rob told us how a windy path from founding a daily deals site in the heady times of Groupon, to teaching at General Assembly, and being an early employee at Bark Box (now just ‘Bark’) led him to meeting up with co-founders Zachariah Reitano and Saman Rahmanian and setting up Roman in the first place. He also detailed how the company evolved, first to address women’s health as well, and eventually to providing much more broad-reaching remote primary care.
We talked about everything from managing the dynamics in a a founder triumvirate (including declarations of love), to dealing with the ongoing complications of a rebrand, to operating a business in an industry with dense regulatory requirements that vary considerably state to state.
We loved our time chatting with Rob, and we hope you love yours listening to the episode. And of course, we’d love if you can subscribe to Found in Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, on Google Podcasts or in your podcast app of choice. Please leave us a review and let us know what you think, or send us direct feedback either on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please join us again next week for our next featured founder.
The Modern Love podcast wants to hear from you.
A Subscriber Edition page in the Podcasts app. [credit: Apple ]
As previously announced in April, Apple has today launched its new Podcasts Subscriptions feature on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. The feature allows users to subscribe to podcasts (or groups of podcasts called Channels) for extra perks.
Perks can include early access to episodes, as well as ad-free listening. Some shows may offer bonus content for subscribers as well. You can subscribe to a podcast with just one button using Apple’s payment system.
Podcast creators can charge whatever they choose to, with the minimum subscription fee being $0.49 per month. Apple takes 30 percent of that amount for the first year, but if a subscriber remains active beyond 12 months, Apple switches to taking just 15 percent of that subscription fee.
The beauty of podcasting is that anyone can do it. It’s a rare medium that’s nearly as easy to make as it is to consume. And as such, no two people do it exactly the same way. There are a wealth of hardware and software solutions open to potential podcasters, so setups run the gamut from NPR studios to USB Skype rigs (the latter of which has become a kind of default during the current pandemic).
We’ve asked some of our favorite podcast hosts and producers to highlight their workflows — the equipment and software they use to get the job done. The list so far includes:
Science Vs’s Rose Rimler
Election Profit Makers’ David Rees
Welcome to Your Fantasy’s Eleanor Kagan
Articles of Interest’s Avery Trufelman
First Draft and Track Changes’ Sarah Enni
RiYL remote podcasting edition
Family Ghosts’ Sam Dingman
I’m Listening’s Anita Flores
Broken Record’s Justin Richmond
Criminal/This Is Love’s Lauren Spohrer
Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Night Vale
Jesse Thorn of Bullseye
Ben Lindbergh of Effectively Wild
My own podcast, RiYL
This week, we talk to Anna Rubanova. A comedy writer-turned podcast producer, she’s worked on myriad podcasts, including “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” and “Election Profit Makers” (featuring recent How I Podcaster, David Rees). Rubanova serves as an executive producer at Forever Dog and has hosted programs for WNYC Studios and Stitcher Premium. She co-produces and hosts the narrative sketch comedy show “Left Handed Radio” with Adam Bozarth.
I use my phone a lot. I used to write down ideas for sketches and would inevitably forget what made them good. “When I win the lottery, I’m gonna teach a fish how to smoke.” That’s in one of my notes and I have no idea what it’s referring to. With a voice memo, I can capture the feel of the bit immediately. The recording can serve as a jumping off point for a fully written sketch, maybe a prompt for improv. I might re-record it using a better mic or, screw it, use it as is. I go with whatever is funniest or, sometimes, good enough. You can always justify it later with context. With enough music, restoration or SFX, the worst-quality audio sounds intentional. Plus, there’s no point in doing something “correctly” in podcasting. It’s like trying to make the perfect sandwich. Anyone who thinks there’s one way to podcast or do radio or utilize two slices of bread is a fraud or a solipsist.
Speaking of podcast perfection, Left Handed Radio is my everything. It’s a portfolio, creative outlet, comedy scrapbook and excuse to play with my best friend and partner in all things, Adam Bozarth. We make sketches, stream-of-consciousness monologues, anything that strikes us as funny or interesting.
Over the last decade, we’ve accumulated a good deal of recording equipment. Nothing fancy: a couple of Zooms, two AudioTechnica 2020 USB mics, and a Rhode shotgun. Most of what we have was meant for DIY filmmaking. There was a post-YouTube short-form comedy boom about a decade ago. When all those branded content sites went down, we stopped messing with video and leaned harder into animation and podcasting.
Narrative audio is my passion. Podcasting is my job. Like I said, we don’t collect equipment but, as producers of up to 12 shows at a time, we needed to invest in plug-ins and software. The easiest DAW for dialogue has to be Audition. Logic is great for building out soundscapes and, obviously, music. We record remote calls to Audition and mark edit points like we would in a studio. (Thank you, Loopback!) Two years ago, I dropped a whopping $1,000 on restoration software. In the pandemic, that software has saved me hours of work. When everyone is recording from home, literally anything can go wrong.
Gone are the days when clipping and plosives were our biggest concern. One time, a podcaster (i.e. someone with their own podcast) called into a show I was producing from a rooftop party. By the time I finished restoring the recording, nobody could tell. (Thank you, RX-7; I wish I could afford RX-8.) Plug-ins aren’t just useful, they can be delightful. We have one that can make audio sound like it’s coming from a loudspeaker underneath a woolen blanket. Have I found a good use for it? No, not yet. But I can imagine the possibilities.
The pandemic helped me appreciate the mind-altering magic of ubiquitous digital audio.
An editor’s departure at JAMA is bringing calls for a sharper focus on racism and its consequences.
They fell for his selfies, tattoos and fluffy dog. But it wasn’t really him on the other side.
More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, early-stage startups across the world are re-inventing how we work. But founders aren’t flocking to build just another SaaS tool or Airtable copycat — they’re trying to disrupt the only thing possibly more annoying than e-mail: the work meeting.
On an episode of this week’s podcast, Equity hosts Alex Wilhelm, Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas discussed a flurry of funding rounds related to the future of work.
Rewatch, which makes meetings asynchronous, raised $20 million from Andreessen Horowitz, AnyClip got $47 million in a round led by JVP for video search and analytics technology, Interactio, a remote interpretation platform, landed $30 million from Eight Roads Ventures and Silicon Valley-based Storm Ventures, and Spot Meetings got Kleiner Perkins on board in a $5 million seed.
We connected the dots between these funding rounds to sketch out three perspectives on the future of workplace meetings. Part of our reasoning was the uptick of investment as mentioned above, and the other is that our calendars are full of them. We all agree that the traditional meeting is broken, so below you’ll find each of our arguments on where they go next and what we’d like to see.
- Alex Wilhelm: Faster information throughput, please
- Natasha Mascarenhas: Meetings should be ongoing, not in calendar invites
- Danny Crichton: Redesign meetings for flow
Alex Wilhelm: Faster information throughput, please
I’ve worked for companies that were in love with meetings, and for companies where meetings were more infrequent. I prefer the latter by a wide margin. I’ve also worked in offices full-time, half-time and fully remote. I immensely prefer the final option.
Why? Work meetings are often a waste of time. Mostly you don’t need to align, most folks taking part are superfluous and as accidental team-building exercises they are incredibly expensive in terms of human-hours.
I am not into wasting time. The more remote I’ve been and the less time I’ve spent in less-formal meetings — the usual chit-chat that pollutes productive work time, making the days longer and less useful — the more I’ve managed to get done.
But I’ve been the lucky one, frankly. Most folks were still trapped in offices up until the pandemic shook up the world of work, finally giving more companies a shot at a whole-cloth rebuild of how they toil.
The good news is that CEOs are taking note. Chatting with Sprout Social CEO Justyn Howard this week, he explained how we have a unique, new chance to not live near where we work in 2021, but to instead bring work to where we live. He’s also an introvert, which meant that as a pair we’ve found a number of positives in some of the changes to how tech and media companies operate. Perhaps we’re a little biased.
A number of startups are rushing to fill the gap between the new expectations that Howard noted and our old digital and IRL realities.
Tandem.chat might be one such company. The former Y Combinator launch-day darling has spent its post-halo period building. Its CEO sent me a manifesto of sorts the other day, discussing how his company approaches the future of work meetings. Tandem is building for a world where communication needs to be both real-time and internal; it leaves asynchronous internal communication to Slack, real-time external communications to Zoom and asynchronous external chats to email. I agree, I think.
These shows will help you to navigate whatever complex feelings you’re having about the world reopening, and ease you back into society at your own pace.
On the new podcast “70 Over 70,” Max Linsky queries Dionne Warwick, Norman Lear and his own father about living well and other “meaning of life stuff.”
Apple last month unveiled its plans for paid podcast subscriptions in a newly redesigned Apple Podcasts app. Now, it’s introducing a new program that will help podcast creators grow their subscriber base: affiliate marketing. The company’s “Apple Services Performance Partner Program,” which already exists to help market other Apple services like Apple TV, Apple News, and Apple Books, is today expanding to include paid podcasts.
The new program — “Apple Services Performance Partner Program for Apple Podcasts” (whew!) — will be open to anyone, though the company believes it will make the most sense for publishers and creators who already have an audience and a number of marketing channels where they can share these new affiliate links. When users convert by clicking through one of the links and subscribe to a premium podcast, the partner will receive a one-time commission at 50% of the podcast subscription price, after the subscriber accumulates their first month of paid service.
So, for example, if a paid podcast was charging subscribers $5 per month, the commission would be $2.50. This commission would apply for every new subscriber that signed up through the affiliate channel, and there’s no cap.
Podcast creators can also use the affiliate links to promote their own paid programs, which would allow them to generate incremental revenue.
While anyone can apply to join the affiliate program, there is an approval process involved. This is mainly about keeping spammers out of the program, and ensuring that those signing up do have at least some marketing channels where they can distribute the links. The sign-up form asks for specific criteria — like how many channels are available and how the partner intends to use them to promote the affiliate links, among other things.
The program will be made available to anyone in the 170 countries and regions where paid podcasts subscriptions are being made available.
Once approved and signed in, affiliate partners will gain access to an online dashboard where they can create links (i.e. shortened URLs) much like any other affiliate program. They can also create multiple URLs for an individual podcast to make it easier to track how well different channels are performing. The URLs can be posted on their own, tied to a “Listen on Apple Podcasts” badge, or can be made available as a QR code. The latter may make more sense when live events return, as it could be printed on signage or in flyers that were distributed during a live taping, for example. It could also be used in other sorts of advertising, including both print and digital.
Though premium podcasts already existed, until more recently that often involved paying a podcaster directly to access a private RSS feed. Smaller services like Stitcher also used subscriptions to provide paying customers with a series of perks, like ad-free listening and exclusive content. The new efforts by both Apple and Spotify are focused on wooing creators to their platforms, where they’ll take a cut of the subscription revenues. Spotify is waiving its 5% fee for the first two years, while Apple is employing its usual model of 30% in year 1 that drops to 15% in year two.
While people can begin to enroll in the new affiliate program starting today, paid podcasts aren’t actually launching until later this month, per Apple. When they do, those enrolled in the affilate program will be able to create links and begin earning commissions on subscriptions.
“No One Is Coming to Save Us,” about child care issues, exemplifies the indie company’s blueprint for creating feel-good stories about feel-bad issues.
Music-filled — and Spotify-exclusive — shows like “Black Girl Songbook” and “60 Songs That Explain the ’90s” dance around copyright constraints.
Watching his grandmother enter her third marriage, Jake Maynard wondered if marriage was about care, convention — or something else entirely.
Inside the relatably argumentative, highly downloadable marriage of retired soccer star Abby Wambach and best-selling author Glennon Doyle.
On the heels of its expanded partnership with Facebook, Spotify this morning announced new sharing features that broaden the way Spotify content, including both music and podcasts, can be shared across social media. As part of this, Spotify’s Canvas feature, which adds a looping, visual art experience to songs, is being improved. Spotify will also now allow users to share a timestamped link to a podcast, which allows users to tune into to a particular moment of the podcast episode.
Previously, if you wanted to share a podcast episode, you could only post the link to the entire episode. But many times, people want to comment on or discuss a particular part of an episode. Now, they’ll be able to do so by using the “switch to share” feature at the current playtime, after tapping the “share” button while listening to the show.
This is toggle switch that lets you share from the timestamp where you’ve paused the show. After turning this one, you’re able to choose where you want to share to — like Instagram, Facebook (Stories or Feed), Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, SMS, and more.
The feature could also potentially be used for podcast marketing purposes. Typically, creators post an interesting clip from their latest episode that includes a link to the episode. But Spotify’s new feature could entice someone to tune in at a particular part, then continue listening. They may even choose to follow the podcast after doing so, as they’ll have already found themselves in the Spotify app. While it may not replace other marketing — not everyone uses Spotify, after all — it could serve as a handy supplement to the creator’s existing promotional activity.
The update to Spotify’s Canvas, meanwhile, is a smaller improvement. Now, users are able to preview their social share across Instagram Stories and now Snapchat, to see how it will appear. Before today, Canvas art could only be shared to Instagram Stories.
Spotify notes that social sharing features had become a more important aspect of using its service during the pandemic, as in-person concerts and fan events had been shut down. Artists and creators still want to engage with their fans, but have had to do so remotely and digitally. And fans want to support their favorites by posting their content to social networks where others can discover them, too.
The new sharing features are a part of Spotify’s larger investment in expanded social media distribution, which recently led to its partnership with Facebook on something the social network called “Project Boombox.” Facebook in April introduced a new miniplayer that streams Spotify’s music and podcasts from the Facebook app. That way, users can listen while they scroll, with Spotify playing in the background. But Spotify’s deal with Facebook doesn’t limit it from making it easier to share to other platforms, as well, as these new features indicate.
Spotify says the new features are rolling out now to global users on both iOS and Android.
Self-taught and sharing what they’ve found out, a new generation of retail investors is taking the markets — and not memes — seriously.
The deal, for one of the industry’s earliest success stories, is the latest salvo in an era of rapid consolidation.
With Apple’s latest mobile software update, we can decide whether apps monitor and share our activities with others. Here’s what to know.
The past year has changed the way we work, on so many levels — a fact from which podcasters certainly weren’t immune. I can say, anecdotally, that as a long-time podcaster, I had thrown in the towel on my long-standing insistence that I do all of my interviews in-person — for what should probably be obvious reasons.
2020 saw many shows shifting to a remote format and experimenting with different remote recording tools, from broad teleconferencing software like Zoom to more bespoke solutions like Zencastr. Tel Aviv-based Riverside.fm (originally from Amsterdam) launched right on time to ride the remote podcasting wave, and today the service is announcing a $9.5 million Series A.
The round is led by Seven Seven Six and features Zeev-ventures.com, Casey Neistat, Marques Brownlee, Guy Raz, Elad Gil and Alexander Klöpping. The company says it plans to use the money to increase headcount and build out more features for the service.
“As many were forced to adapt to remote work and production teams struggled to deliver the same in person quality, from a distance—Gideon and Nadav saw an opportunity to not only solve a great need for creators, but to build an extraordinary product,” Seven Seven Six founder Alexis Ohanian said in a release. “As a creator myself, I can say from experience that Riverside’s quality is unmatched and the new editing capabilities are peerless.”
Riverside.fm is a remote video and audio platform that records lossless audio and 4K video tracks remotely to each user’s system, saving the end result from the kind of technical hiccups that come with spotty internet connections.
Along with the funding round, the company is also rolling out a number of software updates to its platform. At the top of the list is brand new version of its iPhone app, which instantly records and uploads video, a nice extension as more users are looking to record their end on mobile devices.
On the desktop front, “Magic Editor” streamlines the multi-step process of recording, editing and uploading. There’s also a new “Smart Speakerview” feature that automatically switches between speakers for video editing, while not switching for accidental noises like sneezing and coughing.
It’s a hot space that’s only heating up. Given how quickly the company was able to piece their original offering together, it will be interesting to see what they’re able to do with an additional $9.5 million in their coffers.
From Twitter to cable TV, the duo is changing the culture of comedy.
In the wake of a most untraditional presidency, these shows will keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in Washington and our politically polarized country.
Apple crammed quite a few announcements into a short, one-hour presentation yesterday: new iPad Pros, new iMacs, a new Apple TV 4K, and the long-rumored launch of AirTags, to name a few. But for everything Apple executives and product managers said onstage, there was something else that didn’t get mentioned (or got passed over quickly, perhaps).
Many of these smaller details were hidden on product, specs, or support pages after Apple updated its website with the event’s new products. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things that changed on Apple’s website, but we’re picking some of the most interesting ones.
Let’s start with OS updates.
During the past year, established shows have evolved while others have joined. And one, “Mission: Commission,” is breaking new ground.
The company also said it planned to release iPhone software next week with a privacy feature that worries many digital-advertising companies.
After years of increased competition from Spotify, Apple today announced its own expansion into podcast subscriptions. At the company’s spring event this afternoon, Apple unveiled its plans for a podcasts subscription service which would allow listeners to unlock “additional benefits,” like ad-free listening, early access to episodes and the ability to support favorite creators. The service will be available as part of Apple’s newly updated Podcasts app where free podcasts are also found.
The announcement of the new service follows shortly after an industry report suggested that Spotify’s podcast listeners would top Apple’s for the first time in 2021.
Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly introduced the subscription at the launch of today’s event, noting that this was “the biggest change to Apple Podcasts since its debut.” He didn’t get into the details around pricing or functionality.
Cook also noted the Apple Podcasts app had been updated, with newly redesigned show and episode pages that make it easier to listen, follow and share podcasts. The app will also include a new “Channels” feature that lets you find shows from favorite creators and get recommendations.
Apple said the new service will be available in May to listeners in more than 170 countries and regions.
In a press release, Apple said the first premium subscriptions would come from both “independent voices and premier studios,” including Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, as well as larger brands like NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and others.
Apple’s plans for a podcast subscription service was previously scooped by The Wall St. Journal, which said the company was preparing to add a paid subscription option to its product, as well as by Vox Media’s Peter Kafka, who said he believed Apple would introduce a paywalled podcast subscription product at today’s event. There were also hints found in the iOS 14.5 beta, which showed a redesigned Podcasts app featuring an account button on the Listen Now tab. MacRumors had reported that show notifications had been relocated here, and suggested that managing paid subscriptions may also be found in this new area in the future.
The move to enter the subscription podcast space follows years of significant investment by the Apple Podcasts and Apple Music competitor, Spotify, also a chief Apple critic.
Spotify in February noted it had tripled the number of podcasts on its platform, year-over-year, to 2.2 million. It has also forged a variety of exclusive deals over the years with big names like Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, DC Comics, Michelle Obama and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, among others. And it has acquired podcast startups, ad tech and studios, including hosting and ad company Megaphone, creation tools from Anchor, content producers like Gimlet, The Ringer, and Parcast.
More recently, Spotify announced plans for its own podcast subscriptions via an Anchor feature and invested in live audio through its acquisition of live chat app Locker Room by Betty Labs. Spotify had said it would share subscription revenue with podcast creators, who would keep the majority of their earnings.
Understanding the climate crisis is tough. Let these audio storytellers help you understand the problems, and potential solutions.
Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, highlights memorable episodes from her eight years hosting the show, including conversations with Robert Caro, Isabel Wilkerson, James McBride and others.
The craze for digital artworks known as NFTs exploded in the past year. Why are some people shelling out millions of dollars for them?
The European Union’s coronavirus inoculation campaign started slowly, and the picture is worsening still.
For a future episode of the Modern Love Podcast, we want to hear about the creative (or fraught) ways you’re handling the division of labor at home.
Disney can’t change its problematic past. But can it make a new future with Marvel?