Spotify, which has been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into podcasting over the past few years, sent out a user survey in November indicating that it was mulling the launch of a standalone podcast subscription service.

Apple just beat Spotify to it. This week, the tech giant unveiled Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which it describes as “a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favorite creators alongside millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts”.

Starting in May, premium podcast subscriptions will be available to Apple users in 170 countries.

Apple says these subscriptions will include a “variety of benefits curated by creators, such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series”.

Citing a source familiar with Apple’s podcast strategy, Vox/Recode reports that podcast publishers will get to sell their own subscriptions starting at 49 cents (in the US), with Apple taking a 30% cut of earnings for the first year and 15% thereafter.

Podcasters won’t be required to sell their shows as Apple exclusives, but they will need to make it clear which content they’re distributing elsewhere.

Apple’s official release announcing the news includes quotes from executives of various media and entertainment brands hailing the launch of the new service.

Sony Music is the only major music company quoted in Apple’s subscription announcement.