Castmate Podcast Media Hosting

I was recently told about a “new” Podcast Media host called Castmate.fm Before we get into their features, here is what I'm looking for in a podcast media host:

1. Unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth.

This allows me to store all my old episodes, and I can have as large an audience I want without having to worry about additional fees

2. The Ability to Leave

Nothing personal, but if a better deal comes along, I want to be able to leave and take my files and audience with me. This means I can redirect any feeds associated with my account to my new account some places else.

3. Stats

I want get at least a number, and preferably information by location and how they are consuming my data (ipods, PCs, etc)

4. Don't Mess with my Files

Don't change the format. Don't change the name. Whatever I upload is what I want to download

5. Don't “Help Me” with iTunes

Services like Podbean and Blog Talk Radio will “help” you by walking you through submitting the feed from THEIR website to iTunes. Then when you go to leave you CAN'T without losing some of your subscribers.

So How Does CastMate.Fm Stack Up?

First of all, Castmate.fm is trying to help you. They want to be your everything. They want you to use them as your website. This (and this is all my opinion) is unrealistic. The website they provide is beyond basic. I've always said the best practice is to have your OWN website running wordpress where you control everything and use your media host for hosting your media ONLY.

1. Castmate.fm does allow you have unlimited bandwidth and storage.
2. On their blog they say they will put up a redirect feed.
3. They do offer stats. They do offer numbers, and times, and web visitors to your castmate.fm (useless), top referring sites, downloads vs embeds. Libsyn advanced stats and Blubrry stats are better. These aren't horrible, but I would give them a “D”. A D? From what I can tell you only get numbers on all of your downloads (in other words you can't tell which episodes are more popular).
4. Castmate.fm changed my file name when I uploaded an episode. Strike one.  With an email to the developer, this has been changed. Awesome!
5. When you login to your account they system is nice in walking you through entering all your iTunes information. It then displays your castmate.fm feed and the directions on how to submit this to iTunes. If you were happy with the extremely bland website that they provide, and thought owning your feed, and your own website was over-rated then by all means use this feed. Another (serious) idea would be if you already had a website that was not running wordpress (and thus creating the RSS feed might be a bit trickier – say for example you had a ning.com

community you could use castmate.fm to produce the podcast and link to the episodes on your original site).

Submitting Your Podcast to iTunes
So the good news is if for some reason you wanted to leave they say they will install a redirect. This is good news, but I do wish there was a place in the dashboard for the end user to do it. Without it you are at the mercy of Castmate.fm (and let's face it not every company is in a hurry to let you leave).

How Are Their Prices?

My top two solutions are Libsyn.com and Blubrry.com so we will be comparing all three. Libsyn and Blubrry have been around for years. They are companies run by podcasters for podcasters.

To try and get an apples to apples comparison I saw where each company had a plan for 250M a month of storage.

250M Test (for those just interested in storage)
Blubrry.com charges $20 a month
Libsyn.com charges $15 a month
Castmate.fm charges $11.99 a month

Of the three above, Blubrry has the best stats. Libsyn provides “basic” stats which counts the number of downloads. Castmate provides more information than libsyn basic stats but not as many stats as blubrry.com

Blubrry works within wordpress, and adds id3 tagging to your files as you upload them. You can use enter your “Show notes” on your libsyn page and have them posted to your wordpress site (eliminating double entry). Blubrry can also get your podcast on desktop boxes like Roku.

 

$20 a month Test
In this test we look at what you can get for $20 a month from each provider.

Castmate.fm delivers:
600M of space for your media
A toll free number to receive voicemail messages
The ability to record your podcast on the web
The ability to receive voicemail from the web
The ability to add forms to your castmate.fm website
Embeddable player
the ability to leave the system

Blubrry.com delivers
250M of space for your media
Full stats
The ability to upload and tag files within wordpress
Your podcast listed on desktop boxes like Roku
the ability to leave the system

Libsyn.com delivers
400M of space for your media
Full stats
Your own personalized smartphone app that you can sell (and the ability to give away is coming is in beta).
Facebook app for your page
the ability to leave the system

A Bit More About Castmate.fm

They are based out of Toronto, and the developer behind Diaryland (started in 1999) is the man behind Castmate.fm Currently they are hosting Feralaudio.com files.

Final Conclusion

If you're not super worried about where you audience is coming from, and you're going to be using your own website (or understand that you will rely on the mercy of Castmate.fm to let you leave), and you don't care that they rename your files,  then you may want to test them out. Their upload system works great, and is simple to use.

However, if you want to know everything there is to know about your audience (PC/Mac, mobile or desktop, browser type) then you will be disappointed with their stats.

Another point that you need to go “Oh yeah.” If you give our your toll free number and later move away from their service, you are (more than likely) not going to be able to keep that phone number.

They are new, and the emails I received from the developer lead me to believe that they are open to suggestions. As a new company, this will be a fun one to watch as they add a bit of competition to the podcast hosting mix.

Here is an example of their embeddable player.

Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)


  1. Craig
    6 months ago

    It does NOT give you a way to leave! I tried and there was no option. I tried emailing them several times and they NEVER got back to me! I was able to get out of it was because my debit card expired. It’s bullshit! They are CURRENTLY doing this to a friend of mine and she has no idea how to get out of it. It’s like an unmanned machine that charges you money and there is no way of shutting it off.


  2. Dave Jackson
    6 months ago

    Craig, interesting. I know right now their site is down. http://www.castmate.fm/


  3. Dan
    6 months ago

    There is no way to cancel your subscription. I have tried everything and contacted them repeatedly. If it’s not a scam, it’s close. While their features actually aren’t bad, making the payments as recurring without any way to cancel is abhorrent. DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THEM

.
listen to the School of Podcasting
podcasting newsletter
Subscribe to the School of Podcasting

Latest Episode