Spotify appears to be interested in launching a subscription podcast service that would offer access to original shows or exclusive episodes for a monthly fee. The potential service was described in a survey sent out through Spotify’s app, which was reported on by Andrew Wallenstein, president of Variety’s Intelligence Platform.
The survey describes at least four possible subscription podcast plans, ranging from $3 to $8 per month. The cheapest plan would include “access to exclusive interviews and episodes,” but would still include ads. The most expensive plan would include access to “high quality original content,” early access to some episodes, and no platform-inserted ads. None of these plans would include access to Spotify’s premium music subscription.
A spokesperson for Spotify indicated that the survey should not be taken as concrete product plans. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of surveys in an effort to improve our user experience. Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings,” the spokesperson said. “We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”
This all could hypothetical, mind you. Spotify’s reps already put out statements to say it routinely conducts surveys that only serve as “important learnings”. In other words, it wants you to think it’s testing the waters. But the company has been investing in podcasting over the past two years, like by acquiring podcast producers such as Gimlet, Parcast, and The Ringer. It also signed deals with Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian West, and Joe Rogan.
Add it all up, and it seems like Spotify sees a future where podcasts aren’t free.