Can Podcasters Serve Anonymous Apple Subscribers?


PodMov Daily: Thursday, April 22

Episode 413: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Can Podcasters Serve Anonymous Apple Subscribers?

Podcasters hear it all the time: Cultivating a listener community is a fundamental step of growing a show. Serving any audience — much less a paying audience — takes experimentation, and above all, interaction. Under Apple Podcasts’ new subscription model, creators won’t know a thing about who’s paying.

Ad-free and bonus content are a great place to start. However, consistent value is a two-way street. Podcasting Patreon runs on live chats, exclusive merchandise, and special requests. Without Apple subscribers’ contact information, creators are going to have a hard time offering that personal connection.

Monetizing an independent podcast means listening to its audience. Even with social media, retaining subscribers can be more challenging than attracting them. A long-term revenue plan needs a strong off-platform fan club as well. If you switch, anonymous subscribers can’t yet be reached for an invite.

Check, Please: An Apple Podcasts Connect PSA

There’s a checkbox within the new Podcasts Connect portal that’s important to be aware of. In the process of adding a show, users will see it under RSS Feed Access: “Make my feed publicly available.” Unchecking this box will remove your feed from Apple’s API — and the ears of listeners who use other apps.

The box is checked by default. As Overcast developer Marco Arment points out, many podcasters won’t realize how crucial it is to keep it that way. Apps including Overcast, Pocket Casts, Castro, and Castbox rely on Apple’s API for their data. No publicly available feed, no automatic distribution.

“Apple [should] consider making the UI of these screens clearer and ensuring that the true implications are clear; if your feed URL is listed privately, your podcast will not be accessible in any app other than Apple Podcasts,” says iOS developer Benjamin Mayo. Screenshots from Podnews show what to look for.

Dynamic Content: A Powerful New Tool from Buzzsprout

With Buzzsprout, it’s faster than ever to keep your podcast fresh — and your listeners up-to-date. The new Dynamic Content tool lets you easily add and remove short pre-roll (intro) and post-roll (outro) content to your episodes. It's the perfect solution for timely messaging.

Whether you’re promoting a virtual event or giving a special shout-out, Dynamic Content makes it simple to swap, automatically add content to new episodes, or apply it to your existing catalog with a click. Old files are removed and replaced, so there’s no clean-up.

For podcasters, this new tool offers more than flexibility. It benefits your audience in more ways than one: Buzzsprout respects your listeners’ privacy. Unlike most Dynamic Ad Insertion, the Dynamic Content tool includes no tracking or targeting. Ready to make the switch?

If you make yourself understood, you're always speaking well.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Reading room: Next Wednesday at 11:00 am CT, New Voices Network will host “Translating Print Pieces for Audio.” Cheryl Brumley, the global head of audio at The Financial Times, will speak about the emerging art of producing great audio from print journalism. Free registration.
  • Fact check: Lore creator Aaron Mahnke clears up a few misconceptions swirling on Twitter. “The new Apple Podcasts subscription service does not lock creators out of publishing their premium content elsewhere,” he confirms. And “No, all your podcasts won’t suddenly cost money.”
  • Stay classy: Classical music podcasts are finally flourishing, writes Joshua Barone in The New York Times. In the last year they’ve (had to) become more “chatty and approachable,” paving the way for innovative series like Mission: Commission by the Miller Theater at Columbia University.
  • Strong quarter: Podchaser’s #Reviews4Good event has just over a week to go. Until April 30, 25 cents will be donated to Meals on Wheels America’s Go Further Fund for every show and episode review left on the platform. When a podcaster replies, Podchaser will double the donation.

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