The 10 best podcast platforms in 2020

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Podcasting 101

The term Podcast was introduced in 2004 by the BBC journalist Ben Hammersley while “padding out” an article for The Guardian newspaper. Podcast is a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast”. However podcasting has been around for at least 20 years now and was started when in 2000 the concept of attaching an audio file to an RSS feed was proposed. Some of the best podcast radio platforms have been around for about 16 years by now.

Creating your very own Podcast Radio station is a great way to engage with your audience. It can be the way to communicate or it can be an augmentation of your other media channels, like a blog for example. The combination of a podcast radio station and a blog can be a very powerful way to provide additional exposure to your blog. For example People commuting can consume your content while driving to work, when reading is not an option.

The required hardware can range from only using your smartphone to a studio type setup with high quality condenser microphones. When starting up I would recommend to invest around $100,- into a reasonably good microphone, like the Blue Yeti for example. The sound quality is notably better than from a smartphone only.

Aside from a microphone the only other thing required is your voice, your time, and a good hosting platform which brings us to the main reason for this article. I spent a lot of time over the past week to research the best podcast radio platforms as of 2020 and I came up with this boiled-down list.

Get a trailer

Using sites like Fiverr, you can get a custom tailored trailer for your podcast for as little as $5. You can, of course, also safe this money and create your own trailer if you know how to, but then you will likely spend way too much time on it anyways to make it worth your while. Also if you want to order from Fiver I would definitively recommend to spend more in the order of $15 and ask for both intro, and extro for your podcast.

Think of the intro as your business card. A token which your listener-ship will recognize anywhere and anytime. The extro at the end of your podcast can be thought of as the backside of your business card. Anyone listening to the end deserves a thank you, a jingle, contact information, and a call to action. These are the people you want to keep engaged and who are most likely to come back for more.

What you need to know

Audio formats differ in their quality, application, and storage requirements per time unit ( E.g. per minute ). The list below is only meant for reference and not absolute. Depending on the quality settings these results will differ greatly. The quality for these examples are meant to be equal.

  • MP3 : 1min is approx. 1.400kB. Supported by all major browsers. Note: May incur licensing fees
  • OGG : 1min is approx. 720kB. Supported by all major browsers except Safari
  • ACC : 1min is approx. 950kB. Supported by Edge, Chrome, Opera
  • WAV : 1min is approx. 10.000kB. Supported by all major browsers

Lets dive into the comparison.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a streaming service and is mostly focused around music hosting. However they do also host a lot of Podcasts which is why I initially signed up with SoundCloud. The provided tools for SoundCloud are very limited, as are the stats displayed for the podcast. I currently host my podcast on SoundCloud

It is very hard to search for anything on SoundCloud itself. If you know the name of the artist, group, episode, or podcast radio station you may be able to find what you are looking for, however it is next to impossible to discover a great podcast you may be interested in. SoundCloud is not a search engine for sound, it is simply a very well established, and good audio hosting platform.

Like many of the other podcast platforms you can download a Android or iOS app onto your smartphone.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : SoundCloud PlayerSoundClouds embedded player is ok but nothing to brag about either. It gets the job done and displays a small square cover-image if you so chose.

 

The cost

  • Free plan: This plan will limit you to max of 3 hours of free content.
  • $144 yearly plan: This plan provides you with unlimited upload and storage for your contents.

Libsyn

LibSyn, as in Liberated Syndication, has been around since the invention of bread, or so it seems. It started in 2004 as the first Podcast service provider. Since then the world of podcasting has changed but LibSyn has remained a shining star for the podcast radio world.

This service has a lot to offer, especially for larger podcasts. It provides appropriate stats and offers advertising integration. Also notable are their Android, and iOS apps.

The embedded player

The embedded plaFinding the best podcast radio platform : LibSyn Embedded playeryer has different designs you can chose from and can either play video or audio. You can adjust the color scheme to your liking to fit your needs. It also offers a great WordPress plugin to connect directly with your LibSyn – account.

 

The cost

The pricing model is based on monthly storage amount. The storage amount and the duration of your podcast are correlated but not directly linked, as different encoding formats and quality settings impact the required storage volume. As a rough rule of thumb you can encode about one minute of high quality audio in 1MB storage.

  • $5/month: This is their lowest tier-plan with up to 50MB of storage per month.
  • $15/month: This is the next level up, with up to 250MB of storage per month.
  • $20/month: This plan will give you up to 400MB per month
  • $40/month: This plan will give you up to 800MB per month

Blubrry

Blubrry is yet another great podcast platform. It not only offers hosting of your files but also WordPress hosting called PowerPress. This may be a tempting package if you not are also looking to create a new WordPreass site with your new Podcast. Notably they provide good instructions to move from other podcasting platforms. Not surprising then that blubrry is also providing a WordPress plugin for standard WordPress blogs.

The stats you will find on the blubrry platform seem to have been built 10 years ago and offer basic insights. But overall you will be able to drill down and analyze the most important metrics of your listeners.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : Blubrry PlayerThe embedded player is usable but lacks any appeal in my opinion. But then I may be the exception and you may take a liking to the simplistic interface. One cool feature however is that you can play the audio at a faster pace and thus reduce the listening time.

The cost

  • Free – tier: You can get one month free hosting, after which you will have to chose from one of the plans below.
  • $12/month: This is the smallest plan and will allow you to store an additional 100MB each month.
  • $20/month: The Medium plan and will allow you to store an additional 250MB each month.
  • $40/month: The Large plan and will allow you to store an additional 500MB each month.
  • $80/month: Extra Large allows you to store an additional 1000MB each month.

Anchor.fm

The main differentiator of this platform is that the price is $0. This does however NOT mean that it is not one of the best podcast radio platforms. If you look at the features for Anchor.fm you will understand why I chose this platform to be the best podcasting platform to get started with.

Anchor.fm also offers great Android, and iOS apps to help with the creation of a podcast episode on-the-go. The apps enable you to not only create, and edit your podcast it also allows you to create a podcast with multiple people at the same time. Meaning you can record a globally distributed podcast session with nothing more than just a set of smart phones.

If you are already member of another platform, Anchor also offers a very simple import function for you.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : Anchor.fm PlayerThe embedded player is looking surprisingly snazzy and I like it a lot. However the look and feel may not be suitable to every website and you will have to play around with the settings to make it fit your needs.

The cost

  • Free tier : Unlimited hosting

 

Podbean

This is another evergreen podcasting platform, which started out way back in 2006. The stats provided by this platform are in line with other podcasting platform but look much more polished. They do also offer Android, and iOS based apps which you can download onto your smartphone.

The low cost of $9 per month for unlimited storage and the ability to build your own brand around this podcast platform makes it the go-to choice for a lot of successful podcasts. If you outgrow the free-tier offers for podcasting this would be the number two recommendation for you.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : Podbean PlayerThe embedded player is likewise comprehensive and functional in its form and possible configurations. You can have the in-line player or a rectangular player on your site, whichever best fits your design.

The cost

  • Free tier : 5 hours max up to 100GB data transfer. This means you can have about 333 listeners/month if you max out the 5 hour of the free plan
  • $104 / year : Unlimited storage, Intended mainly for podcasting
  • $348 / year : Unlimited storage, intended for video casting and podcasting
  • $1188 / year : Business plan. Unlimited Storage

Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout has been in business since 2009. The analytics package which comes along is comprehensive and will allow you to slice and dice your data any way you like. A focal area for Buzzsprout and one that I hear over and over again is how easy it is to use this platform. A lot of workflow optimization has gone into this platform. This added value is not lost on podcasters switching from other platforms over to Buzzsprout.

One major drawback here seems to be that your audio will be converted to 96k mono format unless you add an additional $6 per month in which case you can upload 192k / stereo files. If it were not be for this reason, Buzzsprout would be the platform I would recommend.

The embedded player

Buzzsprout PlayerBuzsprouts embedded player is one of the nicer ones out there and you can adopt it to you hearts and WordPress’s content.

The cost

  • Free tier : 2hrs per month. Episodes are deleted after 90 days. Ad appear on the podcast web page
  • $12/month* : 3hrs per month.
  • $18/month* : 6hrs per month.
  • $24/month* : 12hrs per month.

* Don’t forget to add $6/month for higher quality stereo podcast content.

Spreaker

Ignited in 2010 Spreaker has come a long way in the past 10 years. Spreaker allows you to host more than one show per account, which is great for the serial podcasters who may have multiple podcast radio stations for different niches.

The Android and iOS app for spreaker allows you to create your podcast on-the-go and have a very high rating in the app-store / play-store. Spreaker does also provide a Desktop application for Windows and Mac OSX

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : Spreaker PlayerOne of the nicer looking embedded player in this collection in my opinion ( of course ). It has the ability to get likes and displays more then just the basic information of the podcast. You can also start a paid promotion through spreaker for any episode directly from the player-widget.

The cost

I have to admit that I noticed the cost of the different plans on spreaker have continued to go up over the past few years. This may be the case industry-wide but is more visible with spreaker.

  • Free tier : 5 hours total storage, 15 minutes live streaming.
  • $7 / month : 100 hours total storage, 45 minutes live streaming
  • $20 / month : 500 hours total storage, 3 hours live streaming
  • $50 / month :  1500 hours total storage, 5 hours live streaming

Audioboom

This service was founded in 2009 as Audioboo and re-invented in 2013 after a takeover through One Delta plc. It offers extensive analytics and monetization options. Companies like BBC, NBC, and the Associated Press are using this podcast radio platform. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange with the Alternative Investment Market ticker “BOOM“.

The mobile apps have been discontinued in May 2019 and it seems the main focus for the sales team will be with large players in the podcasting business.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : Audioboom PlayerThe player allows to nicely integrate into your blog and offers many styling options. The player comes with all the basic functionality you would expect from it.

The cost

The pricing model is quite simple for Audioboom and is very affordable for most podcasts.

  • $99 / year : nlimited storage. Up to 10000 listener / month
  • Priced individually for larger audiences: No official number

Pinecast

This platform is one of the youngest ones around the block. It started as an open-source project in 2017 and went closed-source in 2018. The main developer and founder Matt Basta is actively working on improving and growing this platform and if he can keep up the pace this platform may become popular soon.

On February 29 2020 prices for the Started package will increase to $10 / month. If you sign up before this date you will keep your monthly $5.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : Pinecast PlayerThere are only few options to chose from for the embedded player with Pinecast. One feature which is currently missing is to share your podcast with your other social media channels.

The cost

  • Free tier :  3 podcasts with up to 10 episodes, 48MB per episode, free unlimited uploads, basic analytics.
  • $5 /month : (soon $10/m ) Unlimited storage. 80MB per episode, additional features can be purchased.
  • +$10/ month : Additional Analytics package.
  • +$10 / month : Additional Crew add-on, allowing multiple users to access the account.
  • +$10 / month : Additional Growth add-on. New features like password protected episodes, feedback per episode etc.
  • +$15 / month : Additional Hi-fi add-on. Expansion to 256MB per episode

YouTube

You may not consider YouTube as an alternative podcast radio platform to host your podcast. In reality it is fairly simple to convert your audio podcast to a static image – video, a slideshow or a mash-up of related video clips. The tools are omni-present and a command-line tool like ffmpeg for example is free and can do the job just fine with a single line. Other free graphical tools include OpenShot, KDEnlive, DaVinci Resolve, and many more are all free tools and work on any operating system.

In your YouTube channel you have to make very obvious that this is a podcast and not some well designed video. This will ensure that people will not click on your video and expecting more than thee is. You may consider adding the word podcast into each of your episodes for that reason.

Also notably is the constant change in google’s Terms of Service. You should always consider that YouTube may terminate your account for no apparent reason, as more and more people find out. For this reason alone make certain YouTube or anything google related is not your primary podcast channel.
Note: I too got banned for life from AdSense/AdMob without reason and any means to contact a human being at Google/AdSense/AdMob.

The embedded player

Finding the best podcast radio platform : YuoTube playerThe embedded player is of course the YouTube embedded player and fits nicely in any type of blog.

The cost

  • Free tier : Free unlimited storage

Conclusion for the best podcast radio platforms:

All of the above mentioned platforms are viable options and the best-of-the-best with regard to podcasting. If you get started I would recommend to sign up with Anchor.fm, and cross-post to YouTube. The additional invested time you spend on creating a basic video out of the podcast episode will be rewarded with the spread to a larger potential user base.
Once your podcast and/or blog generates some revenue I would recommend to move away from the free services and onto a paid plan or platform. This move will ensure a better quality experience for your audience and support the podcasting platform.

If you have established yourself in the podcast scene and you want to move beyond the limitations of Anchor.fm my recommendation would be to look into what Podbean has to offer.

I have moved my podcast episodes from SoundCloud over to Anchor.fm to take advantage of the free features provided by the platform.

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If you already are a podcaster then please share your site, the podcast platform you use, and some PROs and CONs.

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Author: Make Money

Born and raised in Germany, I moved to the states and live close to Washington DC.I have been working in the IT environment for many years and have had a few side hustles in the past. Some of them worked out, others did not.My goal here is it to show all the ways you can earn money online and build additional streams of income. The average millionaire has 7. How many do you have ?

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