Pocket Casts backtracks, will now give paid customers lifetime access to Pocket Casts Plus

What you need to know

  • Pocket Casts will now provide lifetime access on the web and desktop to customers that paid for access to those apps.
  • This comes after Pocket Casts announced a switch to a new subscription model this week.
  • The change is in response to backlash from users around the web.

Pocket Casts changed its plans for users that previously purchased access to the web or desktop versions of its app. Now, users that paid for the apps will receive lifetime access them. In a blog post titled "We Heard You", Pocket Casts CEO, Owen Grover, announced that the company has updated its plans.

When Pocket Casts announced that its mobile app would be free, the company also announced that desktop and web users would need a subscription. The company offered three years of Pocket Casts Plus for users who had previously purchased the app, but this did not prevent outrage from fans around the web.

Users on Reddit pointed out that Pocket Casts at one point claimed that users would only have to pay once. Another Reddit post highlighted the fact that Pocket Casts at one point claimed that the company didn't "do freemium."

We don't do freemium. No VC funding. No crazy. We love podcasts and we've built the web player that we want to use. We've priced it at a point where we'll stick around to keep it up to date. You can expect support, features and many more awesome things in the future.

The latest blog post from Grover states that Pocket Casts "missed the mark."

We made some pretty big changes this week, and we've heard your feedback loud and clear. Although we intended to demonstrate our appreciation to our most loyal users, we know many of you feel we missed the mark. With that in mind, today we've decided to provide any user who previously purchased our Web version with lifetime access to Pocket Casts Plus. This includes the Mac and Windows apps as well. No renewal, no monthly charge, no questions asked. This means Desktop App purchasers will also gain access to all of the Pocket Casts Plus features on their mobile devices.Hopefully, this gesture eliminates confusion and demonstrates our commitment to you, the loyal listeners who've helped build Pocket Casts into the platform it is today. We simply wouldn't be here without you.

Though the post stops just short of an apology, it does show a change of actions that ensures customers who paid for the app will have access to it in the future. Additionally, those who purchased the app in the pass gain lifetime access to Pocket Casts Plus on all platforms, including the ability to upload up to 10 GB of personal content to the cloud.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

  • At least they did the right thing in the end. Still stinks of what the company is now like though.
  • What are they now like?
  • Glad to see they made the right choice. I was "happy" with 3 years but would have likely found alternatives after that.
  • As a paid premium user I was furious with their attempt to make me a subscriber. So in last 24h I dumped them and switched to podcast republic. May go and take a look at what the premium plus looks like but I am probably walking away for good.
  • I prefer Castbox
  • I'm glad of the U-turn. I saw the attempted switch as going back on their word when I bought in. I really like set-up, but would probably have switched away if they hadn't backtracked.
  • I wasn't really bothered by the three year plan, but this is a cool change. Good on them.
  • I'm glad they backtracked as I was/am a paid user too. I was going to use it for those 3 years regardless and reevaluate the possible podcast options by the end of the 3 years.
  • I personally think this is a mistake. It’s one more step in devaluing software development. Without direct funding it will lead to more and more sleazy funding models. As someone who paid for the app I thought the 3 years free was exceedingly generous. I want to pay to support ongoing development. I don’t want the app to become stagnant. I know people would like a one time price but the same people generally want on going development and bug fixes and that costs money. If you want free use Apple or Google podcasts but if you want a premium experience pay for your podcast player. A small subscription fee is nothing compared to the enjoyment I’ve gotten from literally thousands of hours of podcasts.