Apple last month revealed its plans for paid podcast subscriptions in the newly redesigned Apple Podcasts app. Now, it’s introducing a new program that will help podcasters 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 audio streaming.
The new program – the “Apple Services Performance Partner Program for Apple Podcasts” (whew!) – It will be open to anyone, although the company thinks it will make more 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 a link and subscribing to a premium podcast, the partner will receive a one-time commission of 50% of the broadcast subscription price, after the subscriber collects the first month of the paid service.
So, for example, if a paid podcast charges subscribers $5 per month, the commission would be $2.50. This commission will be applied to each new subscriber who signs up through the affiliate channel, and there is no maximum.
Podcasters can also use affiliate links to promote their files King paid, which would allow them to generate additional 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 making sure that those who sign up have at least some marketing channels where they can distribute links. The subscription form asks for specific criteria – such as how many channels are available and how the partner intends to use them to promote affiliate links, among other things.
The program will be available to anyone in the 170 countries and territories where paid podcast subscriptions are provided.
Once approved and logged in, affiliate partners will have access to an online dashboard where they can create links (i.e. shortened URLs) like any other affiliate program. They can also create multiple URLs for individual podcasts to make it easier to keep track of how well different channels are doing. URLs can be published on their own, linked to the “Listen on Apple Podcasts” badge, or they can be made available as a QR code. The latter option may make more sense when live events return, as it could be printed on banners or in flyers handed out during live recording, for example. It can also be used in other types of ads, including print and digital.
While premium podcasts already exist, until recently this often involved paying directly to a podcaster to access a private RSS feed. Smaller services like Stitcher have also used subscriptions to offer paying customers a series of perks, like ad-free listening and exclusive content. New efforts by Apple and Spotify are focused on attracting creators to their platforms, where they will deduct subscription revenue. Spotify waives its 5% fee for the first two years, while Apple uses its usual model of 30% in the first year that drops to 15% in the second.
While people can start signing up for the new affiliate program starting today, paid podcasts don’t actually launch until later this month, per Apple. When they do that, affiliate program registrants will be able to create links and start earning commissions on signups.