SoundCloud usually comes up when people think of podcast hosting platforms. While it has become well-known for hosting podcasts, it was originally designed as a way for artists to share and distribute new music. However, podcasters have found SoundCloud to be a great place to express their creativity and grow their audiences.
When you’re talking about any podcast hosting platform, there are always going to be pros and cons. Check out our comprehensive SoundCloud review so you can determine if this platform will meet your needs as a podcaster rather than a music artist.
Pros of SoundCloud
Learn more about the advantages of using this audio platform to host your podcast:
It’s Designed for Audience Interaction
Your podcast most likely centers on something you’re enthusiastic about. Whether you’re sharing the trials and tribulations of your college years or offering romance advice to your listeners, you should be excited or passionate about the content you’re making.
What’s the point of sharing your content if you don’t have a fervent community to interact with?
SoundCloud doesn’t just let you distribute your content. Rather, it makes it easy for more and more users to discover your work. SoundCloud users can easily save and like their favorite podcasts and share them with friends and family.
Instead of just uploading a podcast, forgetting about it, and hoping it goes viral, you can use SoundCloud to promote your work. Creators with premium plans can perform the following actions:
- Schedule releases
- Pin your most popular episodes to the Spotlight section
- Receive unlimited hosting time
- Analyze in-depth stats on your podcasts’ performances
- Send direct messages to fans
- Engage with fans in the comments section of your podcasts
If the thought of keeping up with multiple social media accounts seems daunting, SoundCloud is the perfect all-in-one platform for up-and-coming podcasters.
Share your content and interact with fans in one place. You’ll be able to more easily grow your audience and popularize your podcast.
It Has a Designated App
When you publish on SoundCloud’s platform, your listeners can download all of your episodes through the company’s official app. This lets you connect with Android listeners who don’t have a standard podcast player built into their devices.
All music artists and podcasters can upload their music or podcasts to SoundCloud for free. There are certain limitations in place with the free plan, but what SoundCloud offers is the ability to share your content online for no charge. This is something any podcaster should take advantage of!
The Availability of Different Plans
While some users may not like the idea of paying for their podcast hosting platform, it will be a necessity if you want access to certain features. If you’re hesitant about trying a paid version, you can opt for a free trial.
Check out the following review of SoundCloud’s three paid creator versions you can sign up for:
With the Pro version, you will receive:
- The ability to upload up to 6 hours of music or audio per month
- Enhanced analytics
- The ability to disable comments on music or podcasts
SoundCloud Pro Unlimited
The Unlimited version is pretty similar to the regular Pro version, but the Unlimited version grants you unlimited uploads every month.
The benefits of SoundCloud Go include:
- You can make your podcasts available for offline listening
- Listens during offline listening will count toward your stats
- You can join the company’s Premier program and get paid royalties
As a creator, you should understand how SoundCloud Go affects your audience. When compared to Spotify and Apple Music, SoundCloud Go grants users access to more diverse content, which can help you get discovered more easily.
Paying for SoundCloud Go may not be worth it for new podcasters, but those who are looking to grow will greatly benefit from it. You can check out the free trial that the company offers to see if this version is right for you.
It’s a Familiar Platform
SoundCloud has come a long way since its inception in 2007. Over the course of 13 years, it has become a very recognizable household name and has accumulated a loyal user base. This platform has:
- 12 hours of audio uploaded to it every minute
- More than 175 million unique monthly listeners
- People from 200 countries accessing it every hour
- Become a hub for artists, music producers, podcasters, and fans alike
With these numbers in mind, you can easily see how popular SoundCloud has become. This platform will never have a shortage of users, so you won’t have to work as hard to garner attention as you would need to on other audio sharing platforms.
Cons of SoundCloud
We want to offer an honest and comprehensive SoundCloud review, and it wouldn’t be complete without discussing some of the potential drawbacks.
Even with all of the hype surrounding SoundCloud, there are a few disadvantages you should be aware of:
You Can’t Import Old Episodes All At Once
One negative aspect of our SoundCloud review is that this platform doesn’t let you import existing audio files from an existing RSS feed. If you want all of your episodes on this platform, you will need to upload them one by one, which can become a tedious process. And, it will affect how you track your listener data.
This con shouldn’t be too big of an issue if you:
- Are a brand-new podcaster
- Don’t have a lot of pre-existing content
- Don’t mind if all of your content isn’t in one place
Limited Upload Time with the Free Plan
Users with the Free SoundCloud plan are allowed to upload 180 minutes of audio per month. This tends to work well for music artists. The three-hour limit allows for around 45 songs, which is often more than enough for most up and coming artists.
However, it’s a much different story for podcasters. According to Pacific Content, the average podcast lasts for around 43 minutes. Based on this information, SoundCloud’s 180-minute monthly limit only allows for about four podcasts per month. You would definitely run into trouble if you tend to upload bi-weekly or even more frequently.
Uploads are Limited by Time, Not File Size
A lot of new podcasters dislike how SoundCloud limits uploads by time rather than file size.
As a new podcaster, especially as one who is just starting out, it’s okay to skimp on sample rates and bit rates when publishing your audio files. This will grant your listeners a better experience, as they’ll be able to more quickly download all of your episodes.
Even the National Public Radio (NPR) recommends podcasters to stick to lower bit and sample rates.
With SoundCloud’s limitations, you can only upload 3 hours’ worth of audio every month. On platforms that limit uploads by file size, you can make your audio files of lower quality and upload a lot more audio. And in reality, you won’t be sacrificing a whole lot of audio quality.
A lot of other platforms go against SoundCloud’s practices and limit podcasters’ uploads by file size. This tends to work out a lot better, so it may be worth looking into other platforms.
The Brand Isn’t Stable
SoundCloud has been around for more than ten years, but this doesn’t mean it hasn’t experienced bumps in the road. In 2017, the company had to lay off nearly 40% of its staff. And, it was saved from bankruptcy by a nearly $170 million investment in the same year. Since then, the company has assured its audience that it isn’t going anywhere, but it’s important to remain skeptical.
Instead of placing all of your eggs in one basket, we recommend that you use SoundCloud as a syndication tool rather than as your main media host.
It may be smart to use SoundCloud alongside other imitation SoundCloud websites like Blubrry, Simplecast, and Spreaker.
What About SoundCloud vs Spotify?
Spotify is another popular music streaming platform that old and new podcasters alike have come to claim.
As a new podcaster, you may be torn between which one to use to host your show.
Spotify requires an approval process and prefers you to work with one of their aggregator partners to get your content up.
We prefer SoundCloud, as it is much easier to upload original content for new artists. You can upload 3 hours’ worth of content per month for free, and you don’t have to go through a rigorous approval process.
Think of Spotify like Netflix: only certain content is allowed to be uploaded. SoundCloud can be equated to YouTube, as anyone with an account can upload their content.
Spotify does this to exclusively provide higher-quality content. While this sounds great on the surface, it can be extremely limiting for new podcasters who are just starting and trying to get their names out there.
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Success Story: SoundCloud The Read
Some new podcasters’ biggest bone to pick with SoundCloud is the lack of high-quality audio available on it. Because anyone can upload to it, SoundCloud is home to a lot of sub-par audio files. These podcasts with low audio quality can flood the platform and make it difficult for the content you worked hard to create to stand out.
Even with all of the low-grade content on SoundCloud, there are plenty of examples of podcasters who have experienced a lot of success with this platform.
For example, The Read SoundCloud is a successful podcast hosted by internet personalities Kid Fury and Crissle West. Their show comedically reviews different events and people associated with music, hip hop and pop culture.
These podcasters got their start on SoundCloud and have since earned more than 80,000 followers and 85 million listens worldwide.
The Read is just one example. There are thousands of successful podcasters on SoundCloud who cover niches including business, the environment, social justice, fashion, sports, music, and more.
Final Thoughts: Is SoundCloud a Good Choice for Podcasters?
Even though it was initially designed for music rather than podcast hosting, SoundCloud has become a go-to option for a lot of rising podcasters. It offers a fair playing field for everyone, no matter if you’re just starting out or have acquired a decently-sized audience.
Though it certainly has its limitations, we recommend that podcasters use at least the free plan to take advantage of SoundCloud’s wide-reaching audience. It’s a great, easy-to-use starter platform that will maximize your reach and help connect you with fans.
You can even try the premium plans using SoundCloud’s free trial. Just be sure to cancel after 30 days if you don’t want to pay for the more advanced features.