The podcast content debate: Paywalls, distribution, and exclusivity


Three pieces of news have brought the future of audio content front and center.

Luminary, a podcast company aiming to be the “Netflix of Podcast” launched their subscription based app last week. On March 26th, the BBC announced they would remove their podcast content from Google’s Podcast app, Assistant, and home speakers. Most recently, Sirius XM announced they would be making several of their talk shows available only on Pandora.

These headlines are becoming key points in the battle for how and where we listen to podcasts in the future.

1. The paywall debate

Throughout pretty much all of podcasting’s history, content has been free, distributed via RSS feeds and supported by ads. Luminary wants to change all that with a subscription service. — it’s already raised $100 million hoping to put podcasts behind a paywall on their $8/month app. The testing ground was Twitter, and the debate centered around a single ill-advised Tweet.


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It was bombarded by podcasters that had made their living creating ad-supported shows. To have the founder of Luminary, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, tell podcasters that ads weren’t necessary felt tone deaf. The Tweet was rationed.

Before we grab

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