Should you use Anchor or Transistor for your podcast? Anchor is trying to make podcasting more accessible to hobbyists. That's awesome.
But Transistor is different.
Transistor is for people who are using podcasts to build their brand and grow their audience.
In his Anchor review, Scott Hastie describes why you wouldn't want to host with Anchor:
If you’re serious about starting a podcast for personal brand or business reasons, then Anchor probably isn’t for you. When podcasting with Anchor, your content will be heavily branded by them. Because it’s free, they’ll take the opportunity to promote themselves anywhere and everywhere your content can be found. That’s the trade off.
If you have a personal brand or business, Transistor is built for you. With Anchor, quickly publishing audio is easy, but comes with some downsides.
Transistor gives you control over your podcast's website.
We offer two options:
You can host your website on Transistor, with our built-in CMS. This is what Alexis Ohanian did for his Business Dad podcast (above).
Furthermore, websites hosted on Transistor can integrate with your email newsletter (MailChimp, Drip, and ConvertKit). You can collect email signups right from your podcast's homepage and episode pages.
Anchor doesn't currently support custom domains (yourpodcast.com), but Transistor does! 🙌
One of the hardest parts about starting a new show is you need to manually submit it to Apple Podcasts. This typically means signing up for a new Apple ID, and waiting 5-8 days for Apple to review your submission.
On their website, Anchor promises to automatically "distribute your podcast to Apple Podcasts." But it's not truly automatic; they're submitting to Apple using their Apple account!
Scott Hastie explains:
Anchor submits your show to iTunes/Apple Podcasts through their own account, which means you don’t “own” your show’s listing in the biggest podcast directory in the world. You also won’t be able to access your Apple Podcast stats because of this.
In the podcasting world, your Apple Podcasts account is your key to many of the other directories. Overcast, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Castro, Listen Notes, and others all scrape the iTunes director. It's kind of like the master copy.
If you don't control your iTunes listing, you lose a major piece of control over your podcast's future. Scott continues:
The issues with Anchor heavily branding themselves over your content, as well as effectively owning your show in places like iTunes, means that they really aren’t an option if you want to create a serious and long-term podcast.
One advantage Anchor used to have is you could click one button and submit to eight different players (Apple, Spotify, etc).
Transistor now has one-click submission to 12 major podcast apps. Plus, we'll show you how to submit to Amazon, Stitcher, Deezer, TuneIn, RadioPublic, Pandora, iHeartRadio.
Anchor's current podcast player lacks a lot of controls. Here's how it looks:
Transistor's podcast player that looks like this:
The Transistor player allows you to:
Display your latest podcast episode on your website (like we're doing above) with a special embed code.
Rewind, fast-forward, or adjust the playback speed.
See more info about the podcast.
Subscribe to the podcast.
Embed full episodes on Twitter and other sites.
Embed your whole season of episodes. (Example)
Our player also has great sharing tools; just hover over the player and click the "Share" link. (Incidentally, I couldn't get Anchor's share icon to work).
True to its mission, Anchor provides simple, easy-to-read stats for its users.
Transistor's podcast analytics go into more detail:
Our podcast stats will show you:
Average downloads per episode, organized by "first 7, 30, 60, and 90 days."
The number of subscribers you have (estimated based on past download history).
Listener trends over time.
We'll also give you a complete episode breakdown. You can order your episodes by total downloads, date, and average downloads:
In Transistor, you can also track how many people are listening on each podcast app (Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast):
You can also see a map of where your listeners are from, worldwide:
In addition to what we've mentioned above, there are other reasons you might want to think twice about creating your show on their platform.
When George Kao created his show on Anchor, he noticed a big deal-breaker:
Anchor puts an advertisement about their platform into the beginning or end of every podcast episode that you create/upload with their platform.
After getting criticism about the practice, Anchor modified this slightly: their post-roll ads are still turned on as a default, but you can now "opt-out" in your advanced settings.
Similarly, you'll notice most shows on Anchor have their logo embedded in the show art.
Again, this is turned on as a default and has to be manually turned off.
On Anchor, you can't host multiple shows from the same account. But on Transistor you can:
Don't limit your creativity! Transistor allows you to host unlimited shows on the same account, for one monthly price. (Making more shows is one of the best ways to increase the number of listeners you get each month).
It depends. If you're starting your podcast for fun, or out of personal curiosity, it might be a good fit for you.
But if you're looking to build "a serious and long-term podcast" (as Scott says), you should use a professional podcast platform like Transistor.