Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

Why You Should Never Pay For Podcast Hosting

Thanks to modern cloud services, the cost of storing and serving content on the internet is incredibly cheap in 2018. With a podcasting platform like Anchor, there is no need for podcasters to pay anymore. So why are traditional podcast companies still charging creators to host files like it’s 2008?

In my role as CTO and co-founder of Anchor, I’ve spent the past several years working to make sure that Anchor remains the easiest way to make a podcast ever. And, that it remain 100% free for creators. One of the questions I am often asked is “How is Anchor free?” Podcasters are accustomed to paying to host their podcasts, so why aren’t we charging? What’s the catch?

It’s a great question, and my answer is usually a question, too: “Why would you pay for podcast hosting?” Or, “Why aren’t the other guys free?”

Many podcasts are hosted by a handful of traditional podcast companies that have been around for over a decade. At the time that these companies were founded, the cost of hosting podcasts on the internet was considerably more expensive. Since then, cloud storage and computing costs have plummeted, but the fees paid by podcasters have stayed the same (and in some instances have gone up, even when the companies’ costs have gone down).

Back in the day, you would have had to pay to host video online. But you would never do that today (thanks to services like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, and plenty of other free video hosting platforms). Back in the day, you would have had to pay to store your photos online. But that outdated business model has virtually disappeared thanks to platforms like Google Photos, Instagram, Imgur, and others. At Anchor, we believe the notion of charging creators to host their content online is antiquated and unfair. And above all else, it serves as a barrier that prevents the podcasting ecosystem from growing and becoming more diverse, because it limits it to only those voices who can afford to pay.

For almost every single podcast Anchor hosts, the cost to us is less than 10 cents per month. That means that hosting your podcast for an entire year costs Anchor around one dollar. If Anchor were to charge you $10 per month for file storage and basic analytics, we would either be grossly exaggerating our costs, or grossly overpaying our vendors.

Anchor benefits greatly from economies of scale. The easier we make it for everyone to make podcasts, the closer to zero we can drive the average price of hosting everyone’s podcasts. Our per-user costs drop every time we reach a new growth milestone, and will continue to do so. This is because the incremental price of variable costs (like hosting) go down the more we host, and the static costs (like servers) are split as tiny fractions among the many podcasts on Anchor.

People may ask “So if you’re not making money off of me to host… what’s your business model?” We are not in the business of charging you, the podcaster. We want to work with you to help you make money off your podcast, in which case we all win. And that 10 cents per month to host your podcast becomes a negligible cost compared to the revenue we can all earn together as we advance the medium of podcasting together.

Anchor has a singular mission, and that is to democratize audio. Democratization means making it possible for anyone to start a podcast, regardless of experience level, location, socio-economic status, or anything else. But it means more than just enabling anyone to create podcasts. It also means enabling podcasters to create value from their work and ultimately make money off of their podcasts.

Very soon, Anchor will roll out a suite of rich monetization features unlike anything that has ever existed in podcasting. All podcasters, from those with massive followings to those who are just starting out, will be able to make money off of their work. Anchor will share in the revenue in a way that will always be transparent, fair to the creator, and competitive in the market.

We don’t want a podcaster to ever pay for hosting again. We believe real change in this space is long overdue, and we can’t wait to show you what we’re working on.