Similar to creating a website, starting a podcast requires that you have a hosting service to serve up your audio files. A lot of people I talk to, who are interested in starting a podcast, don't realize this extra step. I think a lot of the time they just assume that iTunes acts as the "YouTube of podcasts" and has you upload your audio files directly.
The nice thing about this is that, contrary to other media services around the internet (ie. Youtube, Instagram, TikTok), this provides you more ownership over your content. So rather than Youtube running advertisements on your video and making a majority of the ad revenue, you have control over the advertisements and get to keep 100% of the revenue (in most cases).
Before starting "Schooncast" and Crystal's "Underestimated" podcasts, I did a pretty in-depth review of the available hosting services before eventually selecting Transistor.fm as our host. Since there are a lot of options available, I wanted to share some of the key selling points that convinced us to go with Transistor.
High Quality Product
I talked to a number of people in the IndieHacker
space, and could immediately tell that Transistor was a high-quality product with all of the important features you'd expect from a podcast host, and rarely any issues or downtime, which I figured was the most important aspect of a service that was going to need to serve your files up to listeners.
Made By Bootstrapped, IndieHackers!
As an entrepreneurial software engineer, I also loved that the co-founders (Jon
) are themselves independent co-founders. When given the option to support an independent company or a big corporation, I would rather support the small guys every time. With that being said, Transistor doesn't feel anything like a product built by a 2-person startup. Everything is very polished, intuitive, and easy to use.
It's also really cool that Jon and Justin host their own bootstrapping SaaS podcast named "Build Your SaaS" that documents their journey of building the company. That level of transparency is really cool to see, and sometimes even provides some insight into upcoming product features being released.
Unlike many hosting services, Transistor's cost is based on the number of downloads your account receives rather than the number of shows hosted. Since we knew we were going to have at least 2 shows, this made a lot of sense for our particular usecase. It's also reassuring to know that if we ever want to experiment with a new podcast idea, we can easily just create it without any risk of creating a new account.
I was had this discussion the other day in the Caster Community
about why I choose a premium hosting service over something like Anchor.fm
's free hosting service. As the saying goes, “if the product is free, you are the product”. With Spotify's acquisition of Anchor in February 2019
, I would be very hesitant to trust that my shows will remain platform indepedent, when eventually it could be in Spotify's best interest to make Anchor shows "Spotify Exclusives". In my opinion, that is the opposite of what the podcasting industry was built on, and I really don't want to see the big players like Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and iHeartMedia take-over this decentralized industry.
When it comes down to it, all podcasts require a hosting service. Sure there are free options, but if you're going to invest in creating a high quality podcast, there's no reason to be cheap with the most important external service you'll need. You likely already spent around a hundred dollars on a quality microphone, and hours planning out your episodes and guests, do yourself a favor and use Transistor.fm
for your hosting. You'll thank my later.