In this blog post, we will gather the most up-to-date information about Soundcloud’s podcast hosting service, showing you what features it does and doesn’t have.
To explain this clearly, we will first review what exactly a podcast hosting platform does, using Ausha as an example. Then we will compare Soundcloud’s features to it. 🍏🍎
Finally, we will wrap up by showing that while Soundcloud might not be a good podcast hosting platform, it is a great listening platform that you should distribute to (FYI- Ausha is one of the only hosting platforms that distributes automatically to Soundcloud… we are really proud of that, if you can’t tell 😁).
Sound good? Let’s go!
Podcast Hosting Platforms: Expectations
A podcast hosting platform’s main job is to create a RSS Feed, storing the podcast’s episodes and updating listening platforms with new episodes. 🔗
However, many hosting platforms offer much more than this.
There are a lot of hosting platforms out there and they all have various features, pros, and cons. In fact, we wrote a whole blog post comparing fifteen of them (Buzzsprout, Castos, Anchor at Spotify, Libsyn, etc.) 🧑🏫
But to keep things simple for our purpose today, we will just use ourselves as an example of a hosting platform. 🤓
Here is what we (Ausha) offers as a hosting platform:
- Storage: Unlimited uploads, downloads, and episodes. No bandwidth or time limit.
- Distribution: Generates a RSS feed and distributes to over 20 global listening platforms with just a click or two, including distribution to Soundcloud and YouTube.
- Marketing: Smartlink, audio player, website, email manager, video clips generator, social media manager.
- Monetization: Dynamic Ad Insertion tool, Ad Campaign Manager, private playlists, website and audio player crowdfund links.
- Analytics: IAB-certified data on listeners including downloads, unique listens, geographical location, device use, listening platform, and peak time.
And just to give you an idea of pricing plans. Our Launch plan is $13/month, our Boost plan is $29/month, and our Supersonic plan is $69/month. All those include not just the hosting features, but also replace email, website, social media manager, and analytics costs. 🤑
Soundcloud Podcast Hosting Platform
Now that you have a picture of what a hosting platform should and can do, let’s take a look at the Soundcloud podcast hosting platform offerings, starting off with Storage.
Upload: Soundcloud’s ‘Next’ plan (free) limits you to three hours of uploads a month. Yes, you read that right: The upload content cap is by time, not by the size of the audio files. So if you want to do a podcast every week, you are probably out of luck. The ‘Next Pro’ plan (starting at $8.25/month) does have unlimited uploads.
Download and episode: There is no stated limit of how many times people can download your episodes from the site. But keep in mind that listeners can’t download content from Soundcloud on the mobile app. The most they can do is put it on a playlist to play offline, and to be able to do that they need to have a paid account.
Result: Not good. 👎
RSS Feed: The Soundcloud podcast hosting platform does generate a RSS feed link for podcasts.
Distribution to Listening Platforms: Soundcloud does not distribute to any podcast listening directories for you. You have to manually create an account for each listening directory and manually put your RSS feed in them.
Result: Bad. 😩
Audio Player: Soundcloud does have a very well-known audio player that can be embedded in websites (WordPress specific code is no longer required).
Smartlink to send listeners straight to your show on the podcast listening platform they prefer: No.
Podcast website optimized for search engines: No.
Integrated email manager for things like podcast newsletters: Nope.
Video clips generator: Noppity nope.
Social media manager: No.
Here’s a little more context to better understand: Soundcloud is a social media platform itself. People make public profiles and posts, they can follow other profiles and like or share their posts, there is a feed that lists all the happenings, etc.
Also, Soundcloud does connect with other social media networks including Twitch, YouTube Music, etc. If you have the paid plan, you can have your new music tracks distributed to almost sixty networks and platforms with a few clicks. HOWEVER this distribution is for MUSIC ONLY, not podcasts.
Result: Bad for podcasts. 😔
Dynamic Ad Insertion Tool that slices ads into past episodes seamlessly: No
Ad Campaign Manager so you can the details of a ad campaign and set an date for when the ads should automatically stop: No.
Private playlists (for donors only): Yes. Both the free plan and the paid plan allows for private track uploads that can be shared with donors, etc.
Links for crowdfunding: Yes. You can put links in your Soundcloud profile.
You may have heard that Soundcloud is all about paying creators for their work, so let us dive into this category a little more. There are two ways to get paid on Soundcloud, neither are good for podcasters.
Fan-Based Royalties 👑
If you have a paid account, you can apply for each of your tracks to be monetized. If Soundcloud approves it– they likely will, although it takes about five business days to do it– then you can make money through Fan-Powered Royalties.
What are Fan-Powered Royalties? It is a system where the artist gets paid based on the time their fans spend listening to their content. Specifically, the payment is based on three things:
- How much the fan listens to the creator’s work relative to the fan’s total time spent listening on the app
- How many advertisements the fan has consumed
- If the fan has a paid listening subscription
This system is really not set up for podcasters. For example, advertisements happen between songs on Soundcloud. That can happen frequently as songs are only a couple minutes long. But podcast episodes are much longer, so if ads are only served between episodes, there are much, much fewer chances for podcasters to make money.
Overall, according to Soundcloud, artists on Soundcloud make around $3.00 for every 1,000 listens. In podcasting world, that many listens can usually net you around $30.00 in paid advertising.
YouTube Content ID 📺
The other monetization route on Soundcloud is through your YouTube Content ID. If someone uses your track in their YouTube video, you get paid.
Unfortunately podcasts don’t make for great background tracks. Can you image watching a video trailer and instead of epic music, it is just a section of a podcast as the audio background?
So, yet again, this is a great option for musical artists, but not for podcasting pros.
Result: Not good for podcasts 😣
The Soundcloud podcast hosting platform does provide some very basic analytics, but even those have problems.
First of all, Soundcloud is not IAB certified, meaning that statistics do not necessarily meet the standard that advertisers or other professionals in the industry trust.
Second, three of the five data categories are related to the social network aspect of Soundcloud: Likes, shares, and comments.
The other two data categories and “Plays” and “Downloads” and only track listens from Soundcloud’s own streaming player and apps.
There is another section on Soundcloud’s data page for podcasts called “Third Party App Insights.” It gives you the total number of plays from other websites and apps, but not much other data.
So, in other words…
IAB-certified, detailed data on listeners across listening platforms: No.
Result: Not good for podcasting people 😿
Overall, you can see why the Soundcloud podcast hosting platform is not a good one for podcasters.
However, it is an important listening platform for podcasters to distribute too! That’s what we’ll cover in the next section. ⬇️
Soundcloud: An Important Listening Platform to Distribute to
Just because it is not a good idea to host your podcast on Soundcloud, that does not mean you should kick them to the curb completely. Instead, you should use another hosting platform (like Ausha, for example) and then distribute your podcast to Soundcloud, in its role as a listening platform. 👂
Soundcloud is available in 190 countries. It has around 175 million monthly listeners. It is everywhere that mainstream podcast libraries are not. If you are looking to grow your audience, this is a valuable place to do it, especially if you are an Ausha member and can distribute to Soundcloud with just a click. 🌎
Bottom Line on Soundcloud
Here’s the bottom line on Soundcloud: It can be tempting to chose it as your podcast host site because of its low price, but it really is not built for podcast hosting at all. You should host your podcast elsewhere and only distribute to Soundcloud. 🎧
We hope this blog post has been a help to you! We do our best to dig up the most important, up-to-date information and make it easy to understand for long-time professionals and people who are just getting their start.
As always, that you enjoy your podcasting journey! 🪐
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