Is Apple Giving Some Podcasts Special Treatment?

apple podcasts on phone next to subscriptions logos
Remix by Caterina Cox, nickfz/Shutterstock, Anna Konchits/Shutterstock, sdx15/Shutterstock

Having a high-quality podcast is one thing, but every creator knows that getting a good listener base is a challenge. At the top of the Apple Podcasts feed, on the “browse” carousel, Apple recommends a handful of podcasts to users. It is considered the crème de la crème of podcast promotional slots.

So it’s no surprise that podcasters are lining up to have their show featured in the browse carousel. Podcasters can submit promotion request applications to Apple, crossing their fingers that they get noticed by the powers that be.

But insiders told Semafor on March 31 that things might not be as clear-cut as they seem. Some podcasters seem to be getting special priority.

One executive at an independent podcast told the outlet that when they asked Apple how to be promoted in the carousel, they were told to participate in the Apple Podcasts Subscriptions program.

Another podcast exec says they received similar sentiments from Apple. The exec said that while the Subscriptions program wasn’t that financially lucrative (Apple takes 30% commission in the first year, and then 15% in subsequent years), it would be worth participating in order to get priority advertising space. 

The outlet also notes that of the seven podcasts featured on the carousel, five are affiliated with the Apple Podcasts Subscriptions program.

Apple never responded to Semafor’s request for comment to deny these allegations. So, it seems like participating in the Subscription program might give you some special privileges.

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