Last month, Apple announced it would start allowing podcast producers and publishers to offer premium subscriptions to their listeners. Ahead of the general availability of that feature later this month, the company is expanding its Services Performance Partner Program to include podcasts (via TechCrunch). The affiliate program will allow participants to earn a 50 percent commission when converting someone to a paid subscriber.
Here's how it works. Say, after tapping on an Apple affiliate link, someone signs up for a subscription that costs $10 per month. The person or organization associated with that link will earn a one-time commission of $5 after that user pays for their first month of paid service. Apple won't enforce a cap on commissions, and it applies to all new subscribers.
The program is open to anyone in the 170 countries where Apple will offer podcast subscriptions later this month, but becoming an affiliate requires approval from the company. Apple points out it makes the most sense for podcast producers and publishers to take part. They can use their affiliate links to earn additional revenue from their own content (and somewhat offset the 30 percent, and later 15 percent cut, Apple will take from paid podcast subscriptions). Each program participant will get a unique affiliate token that they can add to their Apple Podcasts link. Additionally, the tokens work with third-party link tracking services and make it straightforward for producers to track their affiliate revenue.
It might seem strange for Apple to launch an affiliate program before people can even sign up for premium podcast subscriptions. However, it's one of those things it helps to have in place on day one to incentivize creators to offer subscriptions in the first place.