As the competition in the podcast hosting space continues to grow, several of the veteran platforms remain top options with competitive pricing, commitments to innovation, and extensive add-on features. If you are looking for a platform to start hosting with or considering switching over, you’ve probably heard about Anchor and Spreaker in your search.
But how are these platforms similar or different? And what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of each of them? Let this extensive podcast host review guide you and hopefully help you find the hosting platform that best suits your needs.
Podcast Hosting Plan Options and Pricing
Most searches for a new hosting plan will start with pricing and storage options.
Anchor is a podcasting platform owned by Spotify and one of the key selling points of the platform is that it is now and forever will be a 100% free platform for all and any podcasters. Along with being free to use, Anchor also offers unlimited storage for your feed for an unlimited time.
Spreaker also offers a free option. However, the hosting platform also offers several different paid options depending on the needs of the podcaster. The On-Air Talent plan (USD$6/month), for example, offers multiple podcasts hosting, one-click distribution, customizable RSS feeds and programmatic monetization, while the Anchorman plan (USD $50/month) offers all of that plus additional features which include but are not limited to, paid subscriptions, full statistics, and customizable player colors.
As media professional and audio expert Rachel Corbett eloquently states, that podcasters should be wary when using a free platform. Primarily because if podcasters are not paying for Anchor’s services with their money, then they need to make sure that they aren’t paying with anything else, like their content. If you do choose to host your podcast with Anchor, make sure that you thoroughly read their terms and conditions. In terms of Spreaker, who also offers a free plan, we would also recommend carefully reading exactly what you would get (and not get) with their free plan.
Podcast Recording & Editing Options
Both Spreaker and Anchor offer a modern and polished user interface, however, the main difference between the two is a lack of overall control.
On the one hand, Anchor is a great tool and is very easy to use. It’s a fun tool to play with when you are editing your podcast. Anchor allows podcasters to add background music, intros, or create audiograms, but that isn’t unique to Anchor. Spreaker offers all of these features as well. Anchor also has a mobile app and recommends that podcasters record their episodes directly on their phone.
The problem however is that although Anchor does allow you to edit your podcast episode, the podcaster has very little control in the editing process. You can drag and drop segments and add a little music, but that’s about it. Podcasters can’t edit effects or EQ, for example, and they can’t export the audio easily to third-party processing software. So in the end, the podcasters have very little control over the actual audio of their podcast.
Yes, you can record the audio separately and then import it into Anchor on your desktop, but one of the main selling points of the platform is that podcasters can do everything from recording to editing to distribution on the mobile app.
Finally, the file format that Anchor records in is an m4a, not a wav. file of an mp3 file. What does this mean? In short, it is a low-quality audio file format.
Spreaker also argues that it has its own recording, editing, and distribution app, called the Spreaker Studio App. Their free podcast software lets podcasters record, publish, distribute and analyze their podcast, whenever and wherever, easily. The unique in-app features give you total flexibility at your fingertips, making it ideal for podcasting on the go.
The Spreaker app is different from Anchor as it allows podcasters to not only professionally record their podcast in the app’s audio studio, but it provides easy-to-use editing tools, live podcast recording, a Skype podcast recording integration, podcast listener statistics on mobile devices, and one-click distribution.
Speaking of distribution, let’s compare how these two platforms distribute your podcast episode to major podcatchers.
Marketing Your Podcast One-Click Distribution
Anchor originally made it difficult to claim ownership over your podcast content. However, the platform recently updated its terms and services, which do allow podcasters to retain ownership, but not without jumping through a couple of hoops first.
What does this mean? When distributing your podcast with a platform like Spreaker, for example, to podcatchers (Apple Podcasts or Spotify), Spreaker shares your podcast with your email and account. This means you have complete control. It means that you can log into Google Podcast Manager, for example, to see podcast statistics by using your email address.
However, by default, Anchor distributes your podcast using their email and doesn’t show your email address in the RSS feed. If you do want to use your email address, you can manually change the setting in your account, but it does take a couple of extra steps. Nevertheless, at the moment it seems as if you still can’t claim ownership of your account on Spotify. This means that you probably don’t have access to the analytics in Spotify for Podcasters.
On the other hand, Spreaker has made distribution almost too easy. All podcasters need to do is click the distribution option in the Spreaker CMS dashboard, select the podcast distribution platforms of choice and click submit – Spreaker does all the rest. This also means that once it is set up it is good to go for all of your future episodes. Once a podcast episode is published on Spreaker, it will automatically and almost instantly be published on all the podcatchers that you previously selected.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about making money with your podcast.
Spreaker has found a niche appealing to professional podcasters with straightforward monetization tools, as well as features like the ability to host multiple podcasts on the same account.
Monetization is an area where Spreaker is pushing the boundaries and providing modern features. For example, they have integrated programmatic advertising, easy dynamic ad insertion, and other tools that make monetizing easy for podcasters of all sizes. Podcasters also can earn money even if they aren’t located in the US. Spreaker has opened up monetization for various countries like Canada, the UK, Portugal, and many more. This means that even if you are not located in the U.S., you can still make some money from your podcast if you have the right amount of downloads per episode.
Anchor also does offer monetization, however, like many of their other features, it seems like it is quite basic and limited to Spotify-specific advertisements. You can activate Sponsorships for your podcast on both web and mobile from the ‘Money’ section of Anchor. However, let’s be clear. Anyone can ‘set up monetization’ on Anchor/Spotify, however, the protection or barrier to entry is that these are direct sponsors so the podcast has to be selected by the sponsor/Anchor. What does this mean exactly? Well just because you activate Sponsorships, doesn’t mean that you will get any. It is not an open marketplace programmatic monetization tool like Spreaker, it is more of a direct sales ad model. You can also activate Listener Support, which allows podcasters to collect monthly donations from their listeners. It seems also that Anchor only allows monetization options for individuals located in the United States, which can be quite limiting if you have a podcast anywhere else in the world.
The Final Verdict
In the end, Anchor is a great option for people who are just starting their podcast. If you are a hobby podcaster and are not looking to grow, then Anchor might be the perfect solution for you. The platform does do everything, but at the same time, it doesn’t do everything well if you catch our drift. Anchor provides the basics, but if you want to expand your podcast, monetize your podcast or build your brand with your podcast then Anchor probably isn’t the right solution for you.
That’s where Spreaker comes in. Spreaker is the perfect one-stop-shop for all of your podcasting needs. Whether you are just starting, or you have years of experience and multiple shows underneath your belt, Spreaker has something that is perfectly tailored to your needs.
The platform also has a unique Prime Program for podcasters who want to monetize their content. The program helps maximize podcasters’ ad revenue, increase their exposure, and streamline their publishing. If you are looking to monetize your podcast in any way, then there is simply no better place for your podcast.