Table of Contents
- What is Spreaker
- Creating a Podcast in Spreaker
- The Spreaker Content Management System
- Spreaker CMS Features
- Spreaker’s Monetization Features
- The Spreaker Studio App
- Spreaker Host Pricing Tiers
Since its founding in 2010 Spreaker has developed a suite of solutions aimed at all levels of podcasters, from beginners to established publishers looking to make a move. In the last decade-plus, they’ve established themselves as the unrivaled leader in monetization through programmatic advertising.
And Spreaker has been investing quite a bit into making sure podcasters of all walks can focus more on creation and less on the nuts and bolts of bringing money through the door.
They were recently acquired by iHeartMedia, so I’m not the only one excited about what they’re doing. So, what sets this podcast host apart?
Let’s get under the hood and see what makes Spreaker tick.
What is Spreaker
First is the content management system (CMS) where you’ll handle the majority of your back-end work. Your analytics, distribution, and revenue generation all take place within the CMS dashboard.
The second is the Spreaker studio app. Spreaker’s companion app is designed to help content creators record, publish, distribute and analyze their podcast, whenever and wherever, easily. In fact, the unique in-app features give you total flexibility at your fingertips, making it ideal for podcasting on-the-go.
While you don’t need to use the studio app, I did find it added a good deal of value and was a unique offering among podcast hosts that further sets Spreaker apart.
Creating a Podcast in Spreaker
Starting a podcast on Spreaker is simple. It does feel like home in that respect. After creating your account and confirming your email you can jump right into creating a podcast. There are several spots on their website to create the podcast container that houses your episodes.
Clicking on the menu in the top left of the page, the account context menu, gives you a drop down of several features. Clicking on “My Podcasts” will load Spreaker’s Content Management System (CMS) dashboard. It’s here you can get an overview of your storage, shows, and episodes.
From here you click “Create a New Podcast” which brings up a page where you can specify the title and description of your show, along with your show’s artwork.
All in all, a very straightforward process, as you’d expect from an industry leader like Spreaker.
The Spreaker Content Management System
The heart and soul of Spreaker is the CMS. This is where you’ll handle the bulk of your podcast work.
If you don’t want (or don’t have the need) to use the Spreaker Studio app to publish your show, you can do it from the CMS dashboard. But you can do quite a bit more than publish individual episodes.
Spreaker CMS Features
The CMS dashboard gives you an overview of your storage limit, measured in terms of hours, not file size, as well as your episode limit. A “free speech” account starts with 5 hours of storage and 10 episodes. Paying accounts have quite a bit more; even on plans starting at $6 a month.
Spreaker includes a basic website with each show you create which is a nice touch if you don’t have your own web presence. It also has a customizable embedded player where you can feature different episodes as you see fit. It’s especially helpful when you’re testing the waters on a new show before you go all in.
Spreaker takes the lead on ensuring your show is properly distributed with robust RSS feed customization features. It is important to note that if you are coming to Spreaker from another host, you can import your show’s RSS feed here in the Podcasts tab of the CMS dashboard.
Spreaker does focus on leveraging a podcast creator’s time so they can focus the majority of their time on the content and not worry so much about the back end administration. To this end, Spreaker allows you to schedule multiple shows simultaneously into the queue.
Spreaker hosts are treated to robust statistical reporting for their shows. Standard time filters apply here and you can dig into the following categories on paid accounts.
- Referral Sources
- Number of Followers
- Episode Evolution
Starting with the Anchorman Plan (covered below) the episode evolution feature will help content creators track an episode’s progress over the first 30 critical days. Paying accounts are also able to export all of this data as a comma-separated values file. That comes in handy when you’re going shopping for show sponsors. Spreaker has a couple more tricks up its sleeve that really set it apart from other podcast hosts. Let’s take a look.
Spreaker Add On Store
Also within the Spreaker Studio app you’ll notice there’s a menu item called “Royalty Free Library.” Part of Spreaker’s corporate philosophy is that there will be no hidden fees. That does not mean, however, that there aren’t some upsells. Clicking that link takes you to the Spreaker Store where there are several add ons that can take your show to the next level.
- Epidemic Sound Royalty Free Music and Effects Library
- Jamendo Royalty Free Music Library
- Podcast Host Academy
- Show Transcription
- Professional Voice Overs
Are any of these add ons necessary to produce a great show on Spreaker? Of course not. But these add-ons provide podcasters all the tools they need to succeed in their podcasting journey – all in one place.
If you don’t have to leave the Spreaker ecosystem to chase down royalty-free music to import into your show, all the better. Your mileage will vary on these features, but they seem to be reasonably priced for a new Spreaker host.
Spreaker’s Monetization Features
If you’d rather create than sell, paying Spreaker hosts can take advantage of Spreaker’s integrated ad network. If you’re noticing an integration theme at Spreaker, that’s on purpose. Spreaker is well out in front in terms of podcast monetization, specifically programmatic advertising. There isn’t a comparable platform when it comes to income-generating potential for hosts.
Not a company to rest on its laurels, Spreaker’s ad network has the highest performance in terms of revenue and it consistently brings innovative features to the table. Features, it seems, that are unmatched in the podcasting market.
For example, as someone with a background in audio editing, Spreaker’s silence detection tool is an invaluable bit of leverage. Spreaker developed a system that analyzes your podcast episodes and finds specific moments of silence. It then ranks all of these based on the duration, the distance between each silent spot, and its position within the episode. Silence detection is a game-changer in programmatic ad insertion. It means that content is completely undisturbed, the listener’s experience is superb and podcasters can earn money from their content with peace of mind.
Programmatic Advertising & Dynamic Ad Insertion
Programmatic advertising refers to the marketplace where the automatic buying and selling of podcast advertisements occur. Programmatic advertising allows you, the podcaster, to take the guesswork out of making money with your podcast. Instead of seeking your own sponsors or advertisers, with Spreaker, you are able to use their built-in programmatic marketplace. Their marketplace is full of advertisers who are ready and willing to automatically deliver targeted and relevant ads on your podcast. It is as simple as flipping a switch.
How is this possible? Through Spreaker’s dynamic ad insertion.
Once you’ve opted in, Spreaker’s dynamic ad insertion allows you to insert an ad anywhere in a podcast episode – pre-roll (beginning), mid-roll (middle), or post-roll (end). Spreaker makes this so easy with their ad software as you can either manually choose points in the episode where you want your ads inserted or you can simply click a switch that auto-optimizes all ads in a particular episode. It also makes sure that you, the podcaster, has full control of this process.
Dynamic, relevant, and timely ads inserted into your back catalog is an enormous boost for show creators. Programmatic advertising is a game changer because it allows hosts to leverage and monetize their entire catalog.
The Spreaker Studio App
Remember how I mentioned that Spreaker’s lineage is in live radio broadcasting? This history is readily apparent in Spreaker’s studio application..
The Spreaker Studio App Overview
It is a basic software reproduction of a live studio console. It’s a well done piece of software, designed with simplicity and functionality front and center. Because creators don’t need to create their podcast in Spreaker Studio to use the Spreaker content management system, they can use a full digital audio workstation (DAW), or any software they feel comfortable with if they need a bit more power.
But for recording on the go or recording live, Spreaker Studio is intuitive and well appointed. But for recording on the go or recording live, Spreaker Studio is intuitive and well appointed.
Once I got over the hurdle of what I was working with a workflow that made a lot of sense began to unfold. What you’ll want to do as a host, even if you’re planning on broadcasting your show live, is have all of your segment pieces completely finished beforehand. You’ll do this outside of the Spreaker Studio App in a DAW of your choice and import them as audio segments.
Then when you go to record the final version of the show you’re going to release, either live or in “offline mode” you can add spontaneity in the app. The same way a radio DJ would take requests while a song is playing, you can have a live twitter chat or take calls. Then you can respond in real time, between segments should you so choose. The emphasis on live recording gives the Spreaker host a leg up over some of the other podcast hosting solutions.
Recording With the Spreaker Studio App
Aside from not being a DAW, the app has a tremendous amount of versatility. For starters, the Spreaker Studio App is available for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. Spreaker was also the first podcast solution to natively support Chrome OS thanks to Play Store integration.
I was able to test both the Windows desktop and Android versions of the Spreaker Studio app. Both were adequate for recording a live show pre-recorded tracks. The desktop version of the app is by far the better solution for recording live audio.
The playlist tab allows you to queue up pre recorded audio that can be played in sequence.
The heart of the desktop mixer is the “Tracks” tab. This is where you’ll find the two channel mixer. On the desktop version of the app you can simply drag your pre recorded audio tracks into either channel to play them. You’ll then sequence your audio in real time, fade between channels to play your next pre recorded audio segment.
The effects tab contains 9 “soft buttons” that can be loaded with any sound effect or audio track you’d like. The defaults are common ones like applause, lighting, and laughter. But, again, you can put whatever you want to have at your fingertips. This is the most morning drive time element of the software and would be inseparable from Spreaker’s roots.
If you are recording and broadcasting your show live, whomever is listening can interact via chat while you’re doing so. This feature isn’t available with a free account, but it’s another aspect that feels more like doing a digital radio show than a podcast. In addition to the two mixer channels, you can also record live audio via the “Microphone & Sources” section under the Tracks tab.
Here, unlike the mobile app, you can use whatever outboard gear you’d like. If you have a physical mixer and mic setup, you can use those in the app. I was able to use my Zoom R8 without incident. Auto-Ducking settings that automatically balance the volume between live and recorded tracks. You’ve got enough on your plate without having to worry about manually adjusting those levels.
At the bottom is the master output. You can map this to wherever you want the audio output to go. Normally that’s wherever your headphones are, but if you’re not using the mic feature, you could conceivably have this go to some speakers.
Every audio input, no matter what tab it’s under, has its own monitoring and mute buttons. The former allows you to solo just what that channel is doing so you can check the levels. The mute button allows you to cut that track’s signal to the audience feed so they will never know it is there. That way you can queue up exactly what you want to come in. Mute also comes in handy as a cough button. All things considered, a Spreaker host has a lot of flexibility and tools at their disposal when putting together a live feed.
Post Recording With Spreaker Studio
Once you’re happy with your track, it’s time to publish. Publishing is done from inside the studio app if you should so choose. The Drafts and Uploads menu brings up a screen where you can drop your canned shows that are ready to publish. This screen also is where you’ll find the live tracks you just finished recording above.
Spreaker Studio gives you the option to add artwork before you decide to delete or publish. If you’re a paying Spreaker host you also have the option to export the audio file you just recorded. If there were some glaring errors, you can take that into your DAW of choice to polish before bringing it back for publishing. Once you hit publish, your show goes live in all the necessary haunts. Apple, Spotify, Google, Podchaser, etc.
Record Interviews With Skype
As a medium, the interview podcast exploded in 2020. Even if you were lucky enough to have a fancy home studio to record in during lockdown, there was nobody coming over for an interview. The entirety of the format moved online.
The beautiful opportunity for small and independent podcasters was a lower barrier of entry. All of a sudden the playing field was more level because everyone was in their home doing this online. Which brings me to my favorite Spreaker host feature for new podcasters. Skype integration right inside Spreaker Studio. This means that one of your tracks within the mixer is the feed from your Skype session. That’s slick.
There’s no free lunch of course. The drivers take a little bit of work to install and it only works on the desktop iteration of the app, but it’s a game-changer. For creators who aren’t the most tech-savvy, this integration is a boon.
Spreaker Studio Software Conclusions
As a stand-alone piece of live podcasting software, Spreaker Studio is impressive. The mobile versions of the app lack some of the professional bells and whistles. You’re limited to your device’s onboard microphone for example, but even Spreaker Studio “lite” is nice to work with.
Spreaker Host Pricing Tiers
First and foremost, Spreaker has committed to always having a free podcast hosting plan so long as they are around. It’s part of their operating philosophy that creators should have access to the means to broadcast.
$7 Per Month or $6 Per Month (Billed Annually)
On-Air Talent is Spreaker’s entry-level paid tier that brings with it some of the professional features like programmatic advertising and customizable RSS feeds for better distribution.
$20 Per Month or $18 Per Month (Billed Annually)
The Broadcaster tier opens up some of Spreaker’s advanced analytics as well as limited access podcasts to add additional value.
$50 Per Month or $45 Per Month (Billed Annually)
Spreaker’s professional Anchorman tier grants access to the full suite of granular analytics as well as additional branding options like customizable player colors.
In 2021 there are a ton of outlets to host your podcast. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to jump around too much as you grow, there’s a lot to like about being a Spreaker host. Why? Let’s break it down.
First and foremost, as mentioned before, Spreaker offers a free plan that you can test out. Although the features are limited, podcasters can really get a real feel for the platform before they decide to invest in a particular plan.
And when you do decide to switch to a paid plan, there is something for everyone. From their on-air talent to anchorman, podcasters can take advantage of Spreaker’s ease of use, and numerous features, including monetization and one-click distribution (to name just a few).
And as we are on the topic of monetization, there is in fact, no other platform with an equal offering and revenue generation potential for programmatic out there on the podcast market today. It you want to make money off of your podcast, then Speaker is the perfect home for you. Finally, the Spreaker Studio software is truly impressive. If your show conception is heavy on interviews, I can’t think of a better host to start.