The Future of the Paid Listens program

The RadioPublic Paid Listens program will conclude on November 30, 2019. Participating podcasters, head down to the end of the article to learn about your next steps.

Last year we introduced Paid Listens to help jumpstart a new marketplace for in-app promotion. The idea was to make it super easy for any podcaster to get paid for listens on RadioPublic and help grow listenership in the app. The eventual plan was to sustain Paid Listens by selling in-app pre-roll spots to podcasters and advertisers, and also give listeners the ability to pay podcasters directly to skip them.

As with many things in the rapidly evolving podcast world, Paid Listens has been an experiment. We wanted to test incentivizing and rewarding loyalty: giving podcasters more reasons to promote RadioPublic, and listeners more ways to support the podcasts they love.

And that part worked! Over 3,500 podcasters signed up for Paid Listens, resulting in hundreds of thousands of hours of listening, and tens of thousands of dollars in per-listen payments going back into podcasters’ pockets.

Ultimately, we have decided to focus our attention and resources on the set of tools that are helping podcasters grow and engage audiences on and beyond RadioPublic—like our podcast marketing landing pages, the embed player, Podsites and other features available to RadioPublic Basic and PRO podcasters.

Paid Listens has influenced other approaches to rewarding listenership in the industry, and we are delighted to have put more money into the pockets of hundreds of podcasters along the way. We are also encouraged to see more industry solutions emerging for small podcasters to monetize – from listener support to sponsorship marketplaces, and our own PodPass proposal.

Paid Listens for podcasters is an innovative approach that other platforms should consider adopting, particularly when you run the numbers at scale. If Apple, Spotify, Pandora, or others enabled a Paid Listens program, where podcasters opt-in to on-platform ads (and listeners pay to opt-out), an additional $100M – $250M would make its way to creators this year alone.

RadioPublic remains focused on building smart, measurable conversion and engagement tools for podcasters to better connect with their audiences, all continuously updated at podcasters.radiopublic.com.

For existing Paid Listens participants, here’s what you need to know:

  • Everyone who has a balance of $15 or more will receive a payout; previously the payout threshold was $25. To receive the final Paid Listens payout you must complete the Stripe setup from your RadioPublic dashboard in the Paid Listens section by December 15, 2019.
  • For podcasters who are pending approval for Paid Listens or with a balance less than $15, there is no action needed.
  • All podcasters who have a balance above $5 will be able to use promo code “PAIDLISTENS” to get one free month of RadioPublic PRO.

Thank you to everyone who helped us pioneer this program in podcasting, and stay tuned!

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