Yesterday Luminary launched a new podcast app using the freemium model, giving podcast fans two options to choose from. Luminarys ad-supported free tier offers hundreds of thousands of shows and personalized recommendations. The premium tier is ad-free and offers uninterrupted listening to Luminarys podcast library, including over 40 Luminary Originals.
The premium version is available for $7.99 per month after a one-month free trial for US subscribers. The Luminary app is also available in Canada, the UK, and Australia. The free app is available in the App Store and in the Google Play Store.
Premium podcast programs, exclusive to Luminary, include:
- I Am Rapaport
- Under the Skin with Russell Brand
- The Ax Files with David Axelrod
- Hollywood and Crime of Wondery
- On Reflection with Trevor Noah
- Now what? With Arian Foster
- LGBT Q&A
- Locked away from Wondery
- The Rewatchables 1999 by Bill Simmons of The Ringer
Twenty-five of its 40 originals launched this week. The free app includes ad-supported and publicly available podcasts, including programs from NPR, TED, WNYC and The New York Times. More shows will be added over the coming months, including podcasts featuring Lena Dunham, Celeste Barber, Team Coco and more. Trailers are available on the Lighting website.
We were thrilled to introduce Luminarys free podcast app and amazing premium content to podcast listeners, said Matt Sacks, co-founder and CEO, in a Press release of April 23. We created Luminary to make it easier for podcast listeners to find great content and to be the place where podcast creators can do their best. The quality, breadth and diversity of our content means you can always find something great to listen to on Luminary.
The $100 million business-backed podcast company was launched amid controversy after tweeting in March that podcasts don’t need ads, Podcast Business Journal reports. Podcasters and fans took to Twitter to hit back, saying they believe podcasters should get paid and would rather see a few ads than pay a subscription fee. In protest, some creators are holding back their shows.
In a conversation with The edge, Sacks says they made a mistake. What the company meant was that consumers should have a choice: listen to ads in exchange for free content or pay subscription fees for an ad-free experience.
The Verge suggests that this controversy and Luminarys business model present a problem for the podcast industry. Podcasts are traditionally free to listeners. By offering them by subscription, Luminary is disrupting the industry and forcing creators and consumers to look at podcasting differently. Will listeners be willing to pay for podcasts? How will creators be compensated for their work and what control will they have over the delivery of their content?
According to The Verge, Sacks believes Luminary will succeed, despite changing dynamics in the podcast industry. The industry is young and can evolve as other industries have. Take the example of the streaming video market. People have traditionally been willing to pay for video-on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and still are – but that too is changing. Free and ad-supported video-on-demand services are growing in popularity, showing that there is room for more than one business model in the industry. The keys to success are quality of experience and exclusivity – what can Luminary do or offer better than anyone else, and are people willing to pay for it?