Pocket Casts now has free and paid service, and some users aren't happy

Written 8 months ago by IanDorfman

Pocket Casts will now be free to download from both the Apple App Store for iOS as well as the Google Play Store for Android.

Originally costing $4 for the app on Small Android iconAndroid and Small iOS iconiOS, with an additional $9 required to access it on desktops, Small Pocket Casts iconPocket Casts has built a reputation for being one of the most feature-rich and customizable podcast apps you can find on a smartphone. There were a few caveats, most of which were related to pricing and strategy. One of the major hurdles was the need to buy the Android, iOS, and desktop versions of the app separately in order to maintain access to your library across devices. The new pricing strategy aims to simplify this, as well as earn more over the long term.

Now that Pocket Casts is available on Android and iOS for free, the app offers the following features without users having to pay a cent:

Discovery: search for podcasts, publishers, and hosts or dive deeper with episode search
Audio effects: playback at variable speeds such as 2X or 3X and trim silence
Organization: create custom filters to organize episodes based on a variety of parameters
Design: choose from light, dark, or AMOLED-friendly dark themes and icons
Playback: play individual episodes with or without subscribing, automate file downloads, and play local audio and video files
Cross-platform sync: pick up where you left off on another device thanks to seamless integrations across iOS and Android; Amazon Echo; Sonos; Chromecast; Airplay, Apple Watch, Carplay, and Android Auto

The new premium version of the service, called Pocket Casts Plus, will cost $1 a month or $10 a year. This paid service will provide the following features:

Desktop apps including macOS, Windows and Web apps
Cloud storage for creators and listeners who want to use Pocket Casts for all of their audio and video files
Exclusive app icons and themes

For people that previously paid for the desktop app version of Pocket Casts, they'll get 3 years of subscription to the new Pocket Casts Plus service. Importantly, however, no compensation is currently being given to those that have purchased the Android or iOS version prior to this announcement.

Naturally, for people that bought the mobile app as recently as a few days ago, this is not being received well. This can be seen as close to home as on Reddit's r/pocketcasts post linking to the announcement, with some Reddit users bemusing the difficulty of the refund process. As of this post, no plans have been announced concerning compensation for people in this scenario.

Further coverage:
Pocket Casts press release
Pocket Casts blog post
Reddit announcement thread