The Battle Royal of “free” podcast hosting

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Podcaster’s Battle Royal: SoundCloud, Spreaker, Archive.org

 

“Content costs!”

These two simple words are the very crux to one of my Building Bridges conference presentations this year. It doesn’t matter what the content is, there is always a price to host it on the internet. With the recent, and successful, launch of ‘Bellingham Podcast Media: Tech‘ (BPM: Tech) we ran into something every online site or business hits with fast growth…scale.

SoundCloud, albeit the YouTube of audio/music, is really tailored for musicians than it is for podcasters. Even with their newly launched streaming service it is clear that they are going after the overly populated, and low yield return for musicians, streaming business. And with it, musicians get “exposure” and “a free 3 hours of storage”, and SoundCloud gets content. If one was an artist citing 3:30min tracks, 3 hrs of storage would be great. But what about podcasters? Our episodes can range anywhere from 5min to well over 50min.

Spreaker is a service that is tailor made for anyone in the narration-arts (podcasting, audiobooks, etc). Its free account provides anyone a reasonable amount of time to regularly host a show: 10hrs. From there it is even more affordable than SoundCloud for podcasters who want an all-in-one solution for the podcast feed. The approach I took is a hybrid of the old way of podcasting; using the Internet Archive.

Archive.org has a single mission; to catalog everything they can and fight the importance nature of the internet. When one submits something to the Internet Archive it is pretty much there for good. Sure, you remove a file asset from an entry or you can email an admin to as for a take down a collection; but it can be hassle. Once it is in, for all intents of at least this blog post: It’s there for good. This was an issue I came up against while running LNPR, and feel that now Archive.org would have provided a great solution.

After two seasons of podcasting; how to store and keep accessible the broad back catalog? Do you really want to keep years and years of content active in your feed when your show hits on contemporary topics?

The routine that BPM is going to try is using both Spreaker and Archive.org. Spreaker will be our “fresh” feed with about a month and a half of the most recent episodes. Where Archive.org will be the back catalog and permalink to episodes for blogging and the web. The trade off for space is analysts. SoundCloud’s RSS plays nicely with third-party analytics, where Spreaker entirely a closed ecosystem; and their “basic” analytics (so far) do not report any plays/downloads from our partner networks (iTunes, Stitcher, etc). We will be podcasting in the stats dark for a while, but our trajectory was pretty good for a launch month. If that growth continues, we’ll see what the next phase of our show hosting will take us.