Spotify for Podcasters: An Improvement on Anchor?

You can’t go anywhere on the globe without coming across that big green dot. Spotify has worked hard to make itself synonymous with streaming audio. Now, Spotify for Podcasters is the phrase that connects creation and consumption in one ecosystem.

As of July 2022, 44% of all podcasts were hosted on Anchor (now Spotify for Podcasters). This makes the platform attractive to advertisers because the company has a lot of ad placement inventory (podcast episodes). Ad sales make investors happy. Unfortunately, Spotify isn’t helping podcasters make great audio. Spotify has little to no room to negotiate with music labels. They prefer to make up their margin via podcast ads. The following review makes clear why, despite its accessibility as a podcasting tool, Spotify for Podcasters is limited.

Why Has Anchor Rebranded as Spotify for Podcasters? 

In essence, Spotify wanted to paint over or erase Anchor’s reputation. Those who use Spotify regularly for podcasting will know Anchor. Anchor was the first combined podcast maker and hosting service. One could create, edit and publish content to appear on Spotify and beyond. Anchor has always been a good platform for new podcast creators who want to try it before spending money.

But Anchor was rife with problems. Before 2021, users couldn’t control their RSS feeds, preventing them from fully understanding their show’s performance. Moreover, because the barrier to entry was so low, the tool was prone to podcast piracy. In addition, people would start shows there and abandon them, rendering Anchor a podcast graveyard.

The average number of episodes per podcast is 21.7; and the average number of episodes for shows hosted by Anchor is 13.6 (a third fewer).

Podcast Index also automatically removes many inactive shows from Anchor; so the difference may be even higher.

Are Anchor podcasts different?

Although Spotify purchased Anchor in 2019, it didn’t change anything about the tool’s interface or security. Even in March of 2023, when Spotify absorbed Anchor into Spotify for Podcasters, the underlying tool remained the same. 

In short, Anchor is a rudimentary tool, and Spotify hasn’t improved it. 

Does Spotify for Podcasters Have New Features? 

Spotify says, “We have a new look, but we’re still offering the same podcasting tools you love. We’re always working hard in the background to make your experience better.” Other than changing the logo and name, however, there aren’t any additional features.

Does Spotify for Podcasters Have a Mobile App With an Episode Builder? 

Yup. Straight away, The Spotify for Podcasters app guides you from recording to adding music, then previewing, publishing, and setting up monetization. The app makes me nervous because it prompts you to record and asks you to publish before they know your podcast’s name, which feels a little cart-before-the-horse to me.

Is the Sound File Recorded in My Mobile App Available on the Desktop Version?

Spotify’s mobile app holds your library of audio files in cloud storage. You can record using your phone’s microphone and then edit it on your computer or another device.

How to Start a Podcast on Spotify for Free

if you’re used to podcast editing software like Audacity or Reaper, Spotify for Podcasters is a different user experience. But, if you’re used to the editing tools in Alitu, you may find the process familiar. Whether you use the mobile app or the browser site, Spotify for Podcasters guides you through recording, trimming and publishing a podcast.

Recording in Spotify for Podcasters

In Spotify for Podcasters, you record your dialogue into files.

With the mobile app, use your phone’s mic, attach a microphone, or record on the desktop version with your preferred mic.

If you make a mistake, you can tap “Add Flag.” This marks the track so you can return and trim your sound files around the mistake.

Editing in Spotify for Podcasters

You can either:

trim, removing the beginning and end of the audio you want to keep

split, so that you break the audio file into several clips

Each clip that you keep goes into your Spotify for Podcasters Library. Then, you arrange the audio clips in the order you want them in the episode and preview it. Again, the interface is somewhat similar to Alitu, except it can’t polish your audio. I saw a button with a picture of a magic wand that said, “Enhance.” I tapped it but couldn’t hear a difference in the sound quality.

Even Spotify’s guide to editing doesn’t hide the fact that their editing tools don’t help you improve the audio. Their editing guide says, “Spotify for Podcasters’ editing tools are an example of a DAW you can use.” High praise.

You can also create your episode with your own recording and editing software. Then you can upload the finished file to Spotify for Podcasters.

Here’s an excerpt from a sample episode I made. It shows what’s possible using their free, easy recording and editing tools.

Can I Add Music and Sound Effects to My Podcast’s File?

Spotify for Podcasters has music loops to add to each section of your podcast episode. The editing interface will automatically lower the volume to accommodate the dialogue. For each sound file in the episode, that music loop starts over. It’ll sound like you’re signalling a new or different idea.
You can upload any sound recorded separately to your library to add your own music files or sound effects.

Can I Add Spotify Music to My Podcast?

If you use Spotify for Podcasters for hosting, then yes. Link your Spotify (listening) account to your Spotify for Podcasters (podcasting) account, and you can create a Music+Talk Episode. The guidelines adhere to copyright law. Your episode has to contain a substantial amount of talking, and you can’t use Spotify’s monetization options on that episode. You can use Spotify’s music tracks as background music but not as the primary focus.

Spotify Music + Talk is intended for Spotify’s artists to promote their music.

What Marketing Tools Does Spotify’s Platform Offer?

Spotify for Podcasters offers a long article on ways to promote your podcast. They include innovative strategies such as posting about your podcast on social media or having a guest on your show.

Their Q&As, Voice Messages, and polls prompt the audience to think more about what’s in your show. This feature is in the episode’s show notes, so it’s not extra work for the audience. It’s a really useful option that more podcast apps should adopt.

Despite a commitment to cool engagement tactics, Spotify for Podcasters only offers transcripts for audiograms. “You can’t generate transcriptions of entire episodes.” Transcripts improve accessibility and SEO. Surprisingly, Spotify for Podcasters hasn’t provided such a broadly requested engagement tool.

Other than that, Spotify for Podcasters’ creators have the freedom to find listeners however they can.

Is Spotify for Podcasters a Quality Service? 

Any software is as “good” as how people use it. If you script your episodes ahead of time and don’t need multi-track editing, then you can make a reasonably good-quality podcast.

You will need to record in a space that’s treated to reduce reverb and eliminates or reduces background noise. Make sure you’re not dehydrated or overhydrated, practice your mic technique, and use a pop filter, to prevent mouth noises. In other words, if something goes wrong, you won’t have many options to “fix it in post.”

Does Spotify for Podcasters Use My Email Address in My Podcast’s RSS Feed?

Yes, they do. Formerly, many podcasting hosting services would put the email address used at sign-up in your RSS feed to identify ownership. Media hosts still use email to contact members. But they’ve stopped keeping email addresses in the RSS feed to prevent spam and security issues. (Spammers scrape RSS feeds for email addresses and then sell them in bulk.) At the time of writing, Spotify still keeps email addresses in its RSS feed.

Can Other Media Hosts Help Me Put My Podcast on Spotify? 

Yes, any media host can get you listed in Spotify’s directory. Spotify always wants more content to entice people to use their platform. Here’s our full list of podcast hosting options, including costs, benefits, and features.

Alitu vs Spotify for Podcasters

I mentioned Alitu earlier, which is our own all-in-one podcast maker. Spotify for Podcasters’ user interface looks much like it. Making a podcast with Alitu is analogous to Spotify for Podcasters’ process. There are a lot of similarities between the two. The differences aren’t immediately obvious but vital in the long run. They are:

Alitu automatically performs noise reduction, so your voice stands out.

Volume levelling: Alitu manages loudness to keep your volume level stays consistent.

Video podcast episodes: Alitu can create a video version of your full episode with an image, a title and a moving waveform. Spotify for Podcasters can generate a video from a minute-long segment. Or, you can upload a video made elsewhere.

Alitu can transcribe all your content: Spotify for Podcasters only does this for the 1-minute video clips.

Spotify has a mobile app and a desktop interface. Alitu is desktop-only.

Alitu’s editing tools are more fluid and intuitive.

Alitu is a subscription package, whereas Spotify for Podcasters is free.

You can start a podcast quickly and easily with either Spotify for Podcasters or Alitu. Spotify’s free model makes it a good choice for someone dipping their toe and testing out podcasting for the first time. For those planning to stick at it long-term and really grow their audience and brand, Alitu’s going to be the better option, though.

How Much Does Spotify Pay Podcasters?

Not much. In 2021, The Verge reported that Spotify was paying “tens of thousands of dollars” to Anchor podcasters to run ads. But, none of the podcasters who spoke to The Verge could show they’d made more than a thousand dollars per year.

Spotify wants to ensure they have a lot of inventory, which makes advertisers and investors happy. Travis Hoium of Riiv Investing recently opined that “Spotify aims to ‘own your ears’ by connecting creators, listeners, and advertisers on a single platform… The key to Spotify’s success comes down to building a thriving user-generated content ecosystem, much like what YouTube did with video.”

Hoim also pointed out that “Spotify charges a monthly fee to subscribers and shares a percentage of that fee with record labels (who then pay artists). Unfortunately for Spotify, there are only three major record labels, and losing any label would be devastating to Spotify’s business. So, the company has little negotiating leverage and shares about 70% of its revenue with labels.”

Podcasters make up the difference in Spotify’s margin. Spotify for Podcasters’ goal is to get as much content as possible on the platform, fast, and put advertising on it. They want you to make and consume content (and ads) on their platform alone.

Spotify for Podcasters: As Easy as Falling Off a Log.

Since 2008, when Spotify first started making podcasts available to their followers, the US population that listened to podcasts routinely grew from 9% to 38%, or an estimated 109 million people. That’s just one country. Spotify has worked hard to increase awareness of podcasts worldwide. As much as “Apple” and “iTunes” were once synonymous with podcasts, Spotify wants that coveted brand association. But in trying to become “the place for podcasts,” their walled-garden mentality is at odds with open podcasting. This isn’t a sustainable plan for any platform. Luminary tried, and now Apple Podcasts has Luminary’s subscription channel. Recently, Spotify has released some of their Gimlet shows outside of Spotify, including ads for newer Spotify-exclusive content.

Anchor, now Spotify for Podcasters, has always been a minimalist tool. Ease of use and the price tag (or lack of it) makes it a good starter choice for people who need to decide if podcasting is right for them.

However, Spotify for Podcasters doesn’t try to sustain podcasters’ efforts long-term. For example, they don’t have transcripts, and the monetization program’s success is chancy. Spotify for Podcasters’ interface has a few basic editing tools. But when you bake cookies, the shape of the cutter doesn’t affect the flavor.

Using Spotify for Podcasters to make your podcast is fine, but you won’t have much support. When a service is free, you are the product, not the customer. For now, indie podcasters and musicians are the creators keeping Spotify green.

Still shopping around to find the right podcast hosting service for your show? Check out our full roundup.

Still on the lookout for recording and editing software? Here are your full range of options.

Originally posted on May 2, 2023 @ 1:24 am

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