Should I Choose SoundCloud, Libsyn or Podbean to Host My Podcast?
Casey Callanan, MBA
Author of How to Podcast
When You Aren't Tech Savvy
September 5, 2019
Two factors will heavily impact which podcast hosting service you should choose when launching a podcast.
1. Your budget.
2. What type of analytics you need regarding who is listening to your podcast.
Depending on your budget you may want to use Libsyn (pronounced LIB-SIN). It is a powerful podcast hosting tool because of the robust metrics you'll receive about your podcast by utilizing it as your host.
Finding out who is listening to your podcast (and from where they are listening) could be a key element in helping you monetize your podcast down the line. You will need reliable metrics if you ever plan to sell advertising space on your podcast.
If you're launching a podcast or simply re-examining where to host your podcast, I recommend utilizing either Podbean or Libsyn. The way I see it, for a podcast beginner, I would recommend going with either of the following packages:
Podbean's Unlimited Audio package for $9 a month ($108 annually)
Libsyn's Advanced 400 package for $20 a month ($240 annually)
According to the 2018 Podcast Movement Conference I attended, I learned that SoundCloud has toxic metrics due to bots that have been known to inflate the numbers thus many advertisers will not trust it. That's why I didn't include SoundCloud in this blog.
(Note that the individual who told me that was a Libsyn employee, but upon further research, there is strong evidence to conclude he was being completely truthful in that assessment.)
The other major option to consider when hosting a podcast is Blubrry, but I have personally never hosted a podcast on that service so I can't vouch for it or effectively analyze it in any way.
Podbean or Libsyn: Which Podcast Host Has Better Metrics?
Before you move forward with selecting Podbean (since it's cheaper, and it even will allow you to host 5 hours of your podcast for free at first), please consider Libsyn's value.
I say this because Libsyn has more in-depth reporting of metrics than Podbean.
I initially have always gravitated to Podbean because it is more affordable than Libsyn, but the metrics that you get from Libsyn are stronger. I use Libsyn to host one of the podcasts I currently work on, and I use Podbean to host two other podcasts I produce. Now that I’ve had sufficient time working with both podcast hosts, I’ve learned the following:
Podbean shows you what countries are downloading your podcast overall, but doesn’t tell you which countries are downloading each individual episode.
Libsyn's metrics show you what countries, states and territories/provinces are downloading each individual episode. It also shows which countries, states and territories/provinces are downloading your podcast overall.
For example, with Libsyn I know which individual episode of our podcast were downloaded in Spain and how many times, but with Podbean I only know that our overall podcast has been download X number of times in Spain (which could be any episode).
Libsyn will also show you which cities in the U.S. are listening to your podcast. With Libsyn I know that our podcast has been downloaded 93 times in Cleveland, and 35 times in Houston. With Podbean we don’t get analytics of the U.S. cities.
Both Libsyn and Podcast give you metrics about how many times each episode was downloaded per day and overall.
Also note that no matter which podcast host you use, after an episode gets approximately 50 downloads, Apple Podcasts will provide you data (for free) about how long people are listening; for example you can track how much percentage of each episode your audience is listening to and how many overall hours of each episode has been listened to.
Apple needs about 50 downloads of data though before they can supply us with this information.
Here's the Verdict
While Libsyn gives you more detailed metrics in regards to geography, that doesn’t make or break anything for me so I use Podbean to save that extra money. The deal breaker for me is the fact that Podbean also gives you unlimited storage for $9 per month, but for $20 per month Libsyn limits you to 400 mb.
The verdict is in... you should go with Podbean! (Note that I don't get paid by Podbean to write my opinion on this; I only speak about what works best and I do it objectively. Happy Podcasting!)
About the Author
Casey Callanan is the author of How to Podcast When You Aren't Tech Savvy and created a series of videos called How to Podcast When You Aren't Tech Savvy: The Course.