Recent stories have predicted SoundCloud, the host of not only hundreds of thousands of songs but a huge portion of the podcast industry, only has enough cash on hand to last 50-80 days after 40% of their staff was laid off and closing two of the four offices. SoundCloud has become the go-to hosting platform for several podcasters and especially independent podcasts because of the ease-of-use, stability, and simply the cost (it’s free) of the platform. SoundCloud alternatives are looking to tap into this uncertainty and encourage podcasters to migrate to their platforms.
Now even though SoundCloud has made a statement that they’re “here to stay”, many are unsure about the longevity of the free audio platform. For those out there hosting podcasts, making a small or large income, or just sharing a passion, are you worried?
When I started my podcast, it had to be free. The only thing I wanted to put money into was a domain, because, you know… vanity. I looked at SoundCloud and saw some successes but also some struggles, so my plan was to upload to Archive.org and run a Blogger page with a Feedburner RSS feed… I almost exhausted myself before I began.
Luckily, I saw a little post on Reddit about a new free podcast host in beta and had to try it, and I am so glad I did. I made the decision to host PodcastPlayl.ist on Podiant which provides me unlimited storage, a site, a blog, multiple designs, great stats, built-in chapter marker creation, and many more features.
However, there are several SoundCloud alternatives for hosting podcasts that you should be aware of if you’re looking to create a new podcast or migrate off of SoundCloud.
Cost: Starts at $5 for a limited plan
Features: Unlimited Downloads, your own webpage for your show, An iTunes compatible RSS feed for your podcast, HTML5 video and audio player, Single click multiple destination publishing with OnPublish, Network App Listing
Downside: No free tier. Basic plan is not unlimited.
Of course, the biggest name in podcast hosting has to be Libsyn. Known for its prevalence as well as stats and reliability, if you have the means to pay for hosting, Libsyn is probably a service you’ve already considered.
Cost: free, with optional $5-30/month for additional features and support
Features on free tier: unlimited storage, chapter markers, use of your own domain, site and blog, social auto-posting, new-podcaster and pro-podcaster friendly
Downside: a young service and the mobile view for posting and editing could use some love, but with the number of updates and upgrades that come out, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was temporary.
To make sure my experience wasn’t an exception, I talked with Dan Gorman, current co-host of See You Next Wednesday, and he has an archived podcast called Time Bandits that he didn’t want to pay the hosting cost at Libsyn anymore. “I used the Podiant migration tool which grabbed all the information from our old feed and then I implemented a redirect on the old feed. The transition was smooth, though there was an error in the migration and it brought all our episodes over in reverse order. It took a couple days to have Podiant sort that out but once they did, everything was a-OK.” Even on the free tier, Podiant took care of ensuring the order of episodes was correct. You can check out his page at https://timebandits.podiant.co/.
Cost: Starts at free with ads
Features: Mobile app, a large directory for discoverability, New-Podcaster friendly
Downside: Free tier is limited, and includes ads
The highlight of Spreaker is the mobile app that allows you to control your whole setup on the go.
Some may be skeptical of a new service, especially with a free tier, fearing it won’t last. I’ve reached out to some other podcasters who have recently switched from SoundCloud to other platforms to get their perspectives.
Cost: $3-15/month for the basic plans
Features: Website builder and full-featured podcast site, Reliable cloud hosting, Unlimited storage and bandwidth, iTunes and play store support, Search engine optimized, Your own domain and branding
Downside: No free tier. Basic plan is not unlimited.
One Redditor I wrote to said they moved to PodBean. “Their support is pretty active. I haven’t had to work with them too much, but just the other day I emailed them with a question and got one response within an hour, and when I responded that they didn’t quite answer what I asked, they forwarded it to the correct department and I had an answer within another hour or 2. The unlimited storage at $15/m is nice. They have a half decent landing page that you can use as a main website if you’re cheap or just don’t want to set up an external site. With their social share, you can set up new episodes to be posted to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, and I believe Tumblr automatically when you post them to PodBean. These are the features in most familiar with.”
Cost: Free, for now.
Features: Free cloud hosting, intuitive mobile app, easily migrate current RSS feeds (read: SoundCloud) with ease.
Downside: Doesn’t come with a website builder, ads are coming in the future and still remains to be seen what cut (if any) podcasters will get, early start-up might have a shaky future.
Anchor is one of the fastest growing podcast hosting platforms out there, and they’re doing their best to eat SoundCloud’s lunch. They recently released a very simple migration feature where you only input your RSS url and they take care of the rest.
There are many more hosts out there, including hosts with free tiers. Do you have a podcast? What’s the names? Where’s it hosted? And how do you like it? Leave a comment below.