No, Anchor doesn’t own your podcast

After speaking with countless podcasters in the community, we’re setting a new standard for podcasting with a Terms of Service that is simpler, easier to understand, and better reflects our mission of empowering creators everywhere.

Anchor is built for creators. The mission that drives every decision we make is to democratize audio by giving everyone, regardless of experience level or financial means, easy and powerful tools to make a podcast and share their voice.

A few months ago, we noticed there was some confusion among the podcasting community about our terms of service and ownership of the podcasts powered by Anchor. So the Anchor team and I spoke directly with countless podcasters, heard all of their feedback, listened to their concerns, and realized there was room to simplify and clarify our terms so it’s unquestionably clear that when you make a podcast on Anchor, you own your work.

We’ve been working closely with the community, as well as our legal team, to review and update our terms. Today we’re releasing an updated, simplified terms of service that’s a reflection of all of these conversations and what we learned. I’ll break down what these mean for podcasters of all types.

What the terms mean

No part of Anchor’s terms ever has — or ever will — take away your ownership rights to your podcast. We’ve made that language even more explicit throughout.

Anchor’s license grant previously included provisions that were more appropriate for strictly social platforms, but aren’t necessary for podcasting. We’ve removed unnecessary language, such as the right for us and others to create “derivative works.”

In the early days of Anchor, users were able to more freely interact with each other’s content in creative ways. Now, there is clear language about how your fellow podcasters are allowed to interact with your work. For example, they can consume and share your episodes, but they can only use them in their own shows in cases where the content was created collaboratively (such as with our Voice Messages and Record with Friends features).

As always, you can terminate your Anchor account at any time, and our terms are now more clear about the fact that this terminates the license grant for any content that we are still able to control. In cases where your podcast has been distributed elsewhere, we are almost always able to take it down from these other platforms for you. In the rare case that the content is out of our hands, we will let you know and help you contact those other platforms directly.

The purpose of our license is to enable us to create tools for anyone to make, edit, distribute, and monetize audio. There are certain words in that license that seem to have given some creators pause. Here’s what they mean.

  • Non-exclusive: We are not giving ourselves ownership of your content. You own the content and are free to put it anywhere you choose at any time. Moreover, you can choose if, where, and how to monetize your podcast, on Anchor or anywhere else. To put this in context, some other traditional podcast hosts claim as much as 50% of any profits when content hosted on their platform is monetized. That’s absurd and completely unfair. On Anchor, we would never take a cut of any monetization you may pursue outside of our services.
  • Use, edit, modify, aggregate: This gives Anchor the ability to help you create, market, and monetize your work. When you host your podcast on Anchor, you allow us to do things like generate your episodes for you, put them into RSS feeds for you, and optimize your audio and its file formats to make sure your audio always sounds amazing.
  • Reproduce, distribute, display and perform: Anchor is the only podcast host that optionally and automatically distributes RSS feeds to all major listening platforms, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, on your behalf (saving you time and effort). This language grants us the ability to make sure your podcast can be everywhere your fans might be listening. And again, this feature is totally optional.

At the end of the day, these terms exist to make sure we’re legally allowed to help you make and distribute your podcast. Our top priority is not only to serve but also to empower the creator community. In the world of podcasters, creators have for too long been silenced by archaic technologies and outdated business models that simply don’t make sense in 2018. We’re confident these updated terms are much more comprehensive and clear than what you’ll find from any other podcasting company — even those that charge you for hosting, don’t have easy-to-use creation, monetization, and engagement tools, and don’t have the option to automatically distribute.

We take pride in how carefully we assess every word of these terms of service, and we’ll continue to do so every time we add a new feature to the platform (spoiler: there are a ton in the works). And beyond that, we want to dispel any concerns about content use by being the most transparent company we can possibly be. If you have any questions at all about our terms, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at help@anchor.fm, or to me directly at mike@anchor.fm.