Brooks Barnes, reporting for the New York Times:
“We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming,” Matt Sacks, Luminary’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview. “I know how ambitious that sounds. We think it can be done, and some of the top creators in the space agree.” […]
Most podcasts are free, but the Luminary app — set to arrive by June — will focus on subscriptions. For $8 a month, subscribers will gain access to Luminary’s ad-free lineup. For creators, Luminary is offering large upfront payment guarantees in exchange for exclusive rights to distribute their work, reducing the risk of a concept and, hopefully, encouraging greater creativity and higher production values. Luminary will also pay creators bonuses if their shows reach certain listening thresholds.
As a creator, I understand that people just want to earn a living and this seems like a steady way to create podcasts professionally, even though I would not choose to go down this route myself. However, as a user, I am strongly opposed to walling off podcasts, which are fundamentally based on open standards, such as RSS. This is one of the best aspects of podcasts — all you need is your favourite show’s RSS URL and almost any podcast player will play it correctly (many of which are free, though you will have to pay for clients who have some advanced features).