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Podcast Hosting Sites That Pay Creators

Person recording a podcast that can be uploaded to podcast hosting sites

This article is a part of our series on how to run a creator business. In this group of articles, we look into the various platforms where different types of creators can showcase their work. This article you’re reading focuses on podcasters. We profile a few podcast hosting sites that will pay creators money.

Compared with other types of creative works, podcasts are a little bit different. Podcasters often have to pay hosting sites to host their podcasts. In contrast, platforms like YouTube will let anyone upload a video without charging them. So why do podcasters have to pay? The reason has to do with how the podcasting technology and industry work.

If you’re a podcast veteran, you already know about podcast hosting sites, hosting fees, RSS feeds, and the podcast distribution mechanism. You can go ahead and skip the next section. Just scroll down a bit and read our at-a-glance summary of the podcast hosting sites that will pay creators.

But if you’re a newbie podcaster, do read the next section. We give a quick intro on how podcast hosting and distribution work. You’ll need this info to be able to evaluate which podcast hosting site is best for you.

So You Recorded Your First Podcast, Now What?

We’re going to assume that you know how to plan a podcast, record it with the equipment of your choice, and get it to an audio file suitable for uploading. So, what next? Do you upload it to your own website and let people download it as a file? How do you get it onto stores like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify?

You’ll Need a Podcast Hosting Platform

The answer isn’t all that simple. You first have to find a place to host your podcast. It’s sort of like finding a service to host your website, but for audio or video files. There are some places that will host your podcasts for free, but usually it’s only for a limited number of episodes and/or for a limited amount of time. Typically, you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for as long as you keep your podcasts on that platform.

You sign up for the service and upload the audio file to the podcast hosting site. Then, the hosting service will generate an RSS feed for your podcast (not just that episode but your page). You grab that feed and sign up with distribution services like Apple Podcasts.

Then, You’ll Need to Sign Up with a Few Distribution Platforms

The podcast distribution platforms will look at your podcast and either approve or reject it for publication. (If they reject you, of course fix the issue and re-apply.) Some distribution platforms can take up to 2 weeks to approve a podcast, so plan your time accordingly.

You only have to provide the RSS feed once. As you upload new episodes to your hosting service, the distribution services will automatically update and the new episodes will show up. All you need to do for each new episode is to provide the description.

You also won’t need to sign up with every distribution platform under the sun. Just sign up with the major ones like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and maybe a few others. Once your podcast is on the major platforms, other distribution services will crawl them and update their service to include your podcast.

Most podcast hosting sites will help you with the distribution, so you won’t even need to worry about which ones to select. They will often have instructions for the major ones already written-up in their Help section.

And, because the distribution part of the process is fairly automatic, we won’t mention the major distribution platforms anymore in this article. We’ll focus on the podcast hosting platforms instead.

Podcast Hosting Sites Will Often Provide Ancillary Services

You’ll often get a standard set of software tools along with every hosting service. They won’t be exactly the same, of course, but they’ll usually be able to do similar jobs.

You should have access to some sort of analytics dashboard for your podcasts. There, you’ll be able to see how each episode of your podcasts performed. For instance, you’ll be able to see the number of downloads from each distribution platform and maybe how long the listener listened.

Many podcast hosting platforms will have software to help you insert ads into your podcasts. There are typically three places you can place your ads: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. As the names suggest, pre-roll ads are played before your podcast begins. Mid-roll ads are inserted somewhere in the middle of each episode. You can have several mid-roll ads for each episode. And post-roll ads are played at the end of each episode. The ad insertion software can be automatic or you can control the insertions manually.

You’ll often get a Page on the podcast hosting site so your listeners can go download your podcasts. This is also where your RSS feed links to. With many hosting platforms, they can embed this Page onto your own website through a plugin. This way, your visitors will always be able to find your podcast episodes by going to your website’s URL.

Lastly, some hosting platforms will let you host private or restricted podcasts. Often, large corporations use this service to host their internal podcasts for, for example, onboarding new employees. This way, only authorized people with the correct link can access the podcasts.

Podcast Hosting Sites That Pay Their Creators

We researched a lot of podcast hosting sites for this article. We found that they can be separated into two groups: those sites that will help you make money and pay you directly and those sites that will give you the tools to make money but won’t be directly involved.

Below are the platforms that will help you make money and pay you directly. We figured you’d be most interested in these. So, we want to get right to them.

Anchor Is a Podcast Hosting Site from Spotify

Anchor is owned by Spotify. It’s a free podcast hosting site that helps creators monetize their podcasts in several ways. As of this writing, only US creators can monetize their podcasts through Anchor. But Anchor promises that they’ll be expanding this service to outside the US soon.

Anchor helps you monetize your podcasts in five ways:

Ambassador Ads

With Ambassador Ads, the podcast host reads the ads during the podcast. To qualify, you have to have 50 Spotify followers. Anchor takes a 30% cut of the revenue, and you keep the rest.

Automated Ads

For Automated Ads, the sponsor reads the ads. Then, the ads are automatically inserted into a podcast. Anchor doesn’t disclose the revenue split percentage.

Any creator can apply for the Automated Ads program, but there’s a waitlist right now. To be selected for the program, Anchor looks at the number of unique listeners, their listening hours, the number of followers, and whether your content fits within Spotify’s content guidelines.

Premium Sponsorship

To qualify for Premium Sponsorship, the brand picks you. The podcast host reads the ads.


Anchor’s subscription program works like all subscriptions. Subscribers pay a recurring monthly payment, and they get additional goodies such as subscriber only podcasts.

There’s no minimum listener requirement to set up a subscription. It seems like you get to set the price for the subscription by picking from a list of pricing options. Spotify charges a 5.5% platform fee. If the payment isn’t in USD, then other foreign exchange fees may apply.

Listener Support

Anchor’s Listener Support program works in about the same way as other listener support programs. Supporters decide how much they want to give to support your podcasts.

A Word on Ad Pricing

Ads are priced differently, so you find out the price of the ad when it’s presented to you for approval. If you have ads, then they will play across all platforms that your listeners get your podcasts from. That is, if they download your podcast from Apple Podcasts, they’ll still hear Anchor’s sponsor’s ads.


You’ll pay a small fee when you move your money from your Anchor account to your bank account. For Automated Ads, the payout fee is $0.30. For all other payouts, the fee is $0.20.

You have to have at least $10 in your Anchor account before you can initiate a payout. The money must also have been in your account for at least 30 days. Anchor uses Stripe as its payout processor.

Spreaker Is a Podcast Hosting Site from iHeart

Spreaker is owned by iHeart. You have to pay for the podcast hosting service, but Spreaker has an ad revenue share program that can help you monetize your podcasts.


There are 5 service tiers at Spreaker. This includes a free tier, but you can upload only up to 10 episodes. After that, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid tier.

The paid tiers start at $8/month and then go to $20/month, $50/month, and $120/month. Each higher tier will give you more services and more storage space. The storage space is presented in number of hours. Spreaker’s storage space for their tiers starts at 100 hours and go to 500 hours, 1,500 hours, and unlimited.

Spreaker doesn’t mention that you’ll get your own Page if you sign up for their service. But since having a Page is important for linking the RSS feed, we’re going to assume that they simply forgot to mention this fact.

Basic Ad Monetization Program

Spreaker has two ad monetization programs. You can start earning ad money right away, even when you’re just starting out. Once you reach a larger audience, you can join an advanced monetization program.

For the basic monetization program, you first pick where you want to insert ads (i.e. pre, mid, or post roll). Then, Spreaker will automatically inject ads based on your listener’s location. This way, local businesses can buy ads that only run in a specific town or region. The ads will play no matter which platform your listener downloads your podcast from.

You get 60% of the ad revenue. Your earnings will be paid out to your PayPal account. You’ll have to have at least $10 in your Spreaker account before you can ask for a payout.

Live Reads Monetization Program

If your podcast becomes popular, you can join Spreaker’s Live Reads monetization program. With Live Reads, the host either reads the ad during the podcast (“baked in reads”) or records the ad and then the ad is dynamically injected into the podcast (“dynamic reads”).

To qualify for baked in reads, you have to have 40,000 US downloads within 30 days, for at least 2 consecutive months. To qualify for dynamic reads, you have to have at least 50,000 mid-roll impressions within 30 days for each episode, for at least 2 consecutive months.

Your rev share for Live Reads is between 60%-70%. This is because an advertiser can pick one of two ways to pay you. One way is straight CPM (cost-per-thousand). You’ll get a flat fee for each download. The other is based on conversion rate CPA (cost-per-acquisition). This will be based on how many of your listeners actually visit the advertiser’s site/place of business.

Spreaker pays you 60 days after the ads drop. The money goes to your PayPal account. Spreaker doesn’t mention a minimum payout amount, but we assume that it’s the same as for their standard injected ads program, which is $10.

Libsyn Helps Podcasters Make Money Through Two of Its Owned Brands

Libsyn offers audio podcast plans and video podcast plans. The video plans are more expensive than the audio plans. We’ll focus on the audio plans here.


Libsyn’s audio podcast hosting plans start at $5/month. The next tier up is $15/month and then $20/month. Each plan allows you to upload a certain number of hours of podcasts per month, starting from 3, 6, and then 10 hours. You get more storage space with each higher tier. And you get a Page where people can go download your podcasts.

Advertising Revenue Share

If your podcast is downloaded 10,000 times or less, you can let Libsyn automatically insert ads before, during, and after your podcasts. This is a beta program, so you have to apply and they’ll contact you if/when a spot becomes available.

Typically, you get 60% of the revenue (you get 70% if you’re represented exclusively by Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast service). You’re paid every month about 30-45 days after the end of the month. You can have the money deposited to your PayPal or bank account (via ACH).

If your podcast is downloaded 10,000 or more times a month, you can apply for Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast Marketplace. If you’re approved, Libsyn will help you set up a Marketplace listing. They’ll also help you set a rate for showing ads on your podcasts. If an advertiser contacts you to show a particular ad, you get to decide whether or not to accept.

Libsyn collects the payment from the advertisers 30-60 days after the ad drops and then pays you. Typically, you’ll receive the payment within 90 days of the ad drop. You get 70% of the revenue. The money can be sent to you via ACH, PayPal, or check.

Subscriptions and Contributions

For subscriptions, you go through Libsyn’s Glow service. They charge $0.55 per subscriber to manage the subscription. You’ll also have to pay a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Instead of having subscribers, you can also just ask your listeners to make contributions to support your podcast. In that case, Libsyn doesn’t charge you. All you have to do is to pay the payment processing fee.

Buzzsprout Can Insert Ads in Your Podcast and Will Pay Per Download

Buzzsprout offers a free tier and three paid tiers for their podcast hosting services.


With the free tier, you can upload up to 2 hours of podcasts, and Buzzsprout will host the podcasts for 90 days. You’ll need to upgrade if you need the podcasts to stay hosted for longer.

Buzzsprout’s paid tiers start at $12/month and go to $18/month and $24/month. The tiers will let you upload 3, 6, and 12 hours of podcasts per month, respectively. You can pay extra if you need to upload more hours that month.

With each account, you get a Page for your listeners to download your podcasts. But if you have your own website, you can embed the episodes as well as a podcast player on your own website. Buzzsprout has a WordPress plugin to make the process easier for you.

Ad Revenue Share

You can run your own advertisements during your podcasts, or you can let Buzzsprout insert ads into your podcasts. You decide where—pre, mid, or post roll—to insert the ads. If you don’t think the ads are appropriate for your podcasts, you can reject them.

Buzzsprout currently pays $0.014 per episode downloaded. You can apply your earnings against future Buzzsprout invoices or instruct Buzzsprout to send the money to your PayPal account.

Podbean Offers Several Ways for Podcasters to Make Money

Podbean offers a free basic plan that gives you 5 hours of storage space. But you can’t access any of the monetization tools if you use the free plan.


Podbean offers 3 paid plans. Each paid plan has a basic per month charge but you get a discount if you pay for the entire year. The plans are:

  • Unlimited Audio: $14/month or $9/month if paid annually.
  • Unlimited Plus: $39/month or $29/month if paid annually. This plan supports video podcasts.
  • Network: $99/month or $79/month if paid annually. You can host different podcasts or a podcast network.

The plans all give you a Page to post your podcasts or let you use your own domain.

Subscriptions (or Per Episode Sales)

Podbean takes a 20% fee for managing your subscriptions. The subscriptions are sold through Apple or Google, so they take a 30% fee. This means you get to keep 50% of the subscription fee.

The minimum payout threshold is $20. Podbean sends the money to your PayPal account.

Listener Support

If your listener sends you money to support your podcast, Podbean takes a 5% platform fee. You’ll also have to pay Stripe’s 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee. You keep the rest.

Ads Marketplace

You can sign up to Podbean’s Ads Marketplace and let them run ads during your podcast. Podbean doesn’t specify the rev share percentage. The pay is based on CPM (cost per thousand downloads), so it can vary depending on the advertiser. You get to decide if you want to allow a particular ad to run during your podcast.

Payout is to your PayPal Account. You’re paid on the 15th for the previous month’s earnings.

Other Podcast Hosting Sites

There are a lot of other podcast hosting sites in addition to the 5 we profiled above. These other hosting sites provide a no-nonsense service. They let you insert your own ads or run your own subscriptions. They don’t require a rev share, but they also don’t bring in advertisers who will pay you to run their ads on your podcast. You’ll typically have software tools to help you insert your own ads or set up a subscription service.

We’ll briefly mention a few of these platform providers below, in case you prefer to monetize your podcasts yourself.


Captivate charges you by the number of downloads per month. The basic plan starts at $17/month, which allows for 12,000 downloads. The next tier is at $44/month for 60,000 downloads per month and then $90/month for 150,000 downloads.

You’ll get a podcast Page or you can use your own website and embed your podcasts there using a plugin.


Transistor’s basic plan starts at $19/month for 20,000 downloads, $49/month for 100,000 downloads, and $99/month for 250,000 downloads. You get 2 months free if you pay yearly. They have Enterprise plans that will let you have more downloads.

They offer a podcast Page and have a plugin to help you embed the Page on your website.


Castos’ Starter plan starts at $19/month for 20,000 downloads. The Growth plan is $49/month for 75,000 downloads, and the Pro plan is $99/month for 200,000 downloads. The Enterprise plan starts at $499/month. If you pay for the entire year, you get 2 months free. You’ll get a Page for your podcasts or you can use a WordPress plugin to embed the podcasts onto your own website.

Castos lets you put a listener contribution or subscription button on your Page. The button links to Stripe, so you can set up something similar to a Patreon audience support feature without having to pay Patreon’s platform fee. has special pricing for students/nonprofits and custom pricing for podcast networks. But most other podcasters will have to pay $12.99/month to open an account. If you pay for the entire year, you get a 35% discount.

You can have up to 30,000 downloads at this tier. If you consistently exceed this number, you may have to pay for an upgraded tier. You get a Page or you can use a plugin to embed your podcasts on your own website. offers podcasters a donation button on their Page so listeners can make payments to support the podcaster. It’s just a button, though. You’ll have to link your Patreon, PayPal, or GoFundMe accounts to this button.

Should You Do Video Podcasts or Audio Podcasts?

With some of the hosting plans we profiled above, the plan specifies if they’re for audio or video podcasts. We’ve only shown you the audio podcast plans. That’s because we think you might not need to have a video podcast at all.

For video programming, most creators can show their programs through a live broadcast that’s saved for later. If you do these on video platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and similar, you can get your programs hosted for free. Your viewers can either stream the programming via WiFi or through their mobile devices. And you can earn money from YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. for your work.

This is why we don’t think you’ll need a video podcast at all.

Podcasting Has Been Around for a Long Time and Will be Here to Stay

The concept of a podcast was first proposed in the year 2000. It started to get real traction when the Apple iTunes store started to carry podcasts around 2005. As of August 2022, there are roughly 2.9 million podcast shows in existence.

We’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time and have more-or-less continuously listened to a tech podcast program since 2006 or so. Recently, the hosts of that show talked about the podcasting industry in general and commented that, like all industries, it follows a cycle of popularity and neglect.

Right now, podcasts are fairly popular. The market is saturated. So, as a creator, if you’re just getting into the podcasting business, be aware that there’s a lot of competition out there. Finding your audience might be a little tricky.

But it seems podcasting is here to stay. And the industry has made it a lot easier and less expensive to start one yourself, compared to even just a few years ago. It has also made it easier to monetize your podcasts.

So, if you have an idea for a podcast, you can certainly give it a try with little to no startup costs.

Interested in starting and running a small business? Here’s the beginning of our step-by-step guide: What to do right after getting that great business idea.

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