Review: Read Before Using is a free podcasting platform that makes creating a podcast super easy. That's the good news. In fact, I feed anchor has probably helped create a few meetings at podcast hosting companies to talk about their user interfaces. There is a dark side to Anchor, and that's what I'm here to talk about so you can make an informed decision.

Before we go any further, I need to disclose I work for a competitor for Anchor and that's a shame. I've been in the podcasting space since 2005, and who I work for has nothing to do with this article. It has to do with the people I help move off their platform and are surprised to find out they gave away control of their show to Anchor.

Anchor and Their Free Business Model

Over the years I've seen many companies try to use the free business model for podcast hosting. Here is the plan:

  • You sign up for free
  • You grow your audience
  • The podcast host runs advertisements against your content to pay for the bandwidth

The idea being the podcast host makes money, you get free hosting, and we are all happy. The truth is this is what happens:

  • You sign up for free
  • You grow your audience
  • You move your show to a new host so you can keep the advertising money

Free is Not a Good Business Plan

Companies have come back to this model time and time again. Here is a quick history lesson:

  • Podshow/Mevio 8/2005 – 4/2014 (116 months – 38.8 million dollars spent)
  • Podango 9/2006 – 12/2008 (27 Months)
  • 7/2006 – 7/2009 (36 months)
  • 2007 – 2011 (estimated 48 months)
  • 11/ 2012 – 8/2014 (21 months before being purchased by panoply and taken off the market)
  • Opinion Podcasting 11/2015-10/2017  (23 months)
  • Zcat 1/2016 – 1/2019 (36 months)

That is an average of 43 months. It's even less if we were to removed Mevio who went through 38.8 million dollars.

Anchor was funded in 2015 and purchased by Spotify in 2019 (42 months) who had received 14 million.

I always find it odd that I have to try to convince people that a company that does not charge for their service often goes out business.

Things You Should Know About Before Signing Up

Other media hosts allow you to add three categories for Apple Podcasts. Anchor only provides one. So instead of being listed in Business, Technology, and Science, your show will just be listed in Business.

Anchor Doesn't Inform Their Customers About their Choices

When you click on the button to “Make your podcast available on all major platforms,” there is no mentioning that clicking that buttons will block your access to additional Apple stats in There is no pop up that alerts you that it will block your access to additional stats in Stitcher.”

That is not mentioned anywhere. Anchor has control of your show under their Apple ID, and some sort of ID for Stitcher.

Someone who is brand new to podcasting may not understand RSS and how syndication works, and are not likely to know that Apple and Stitcher offer additional stats from your media host.

So does this mean that Anchor is making it “easier” to syndicate your show (which they do), but they are preying on the uninformed? Keep in mind, that all it takes to list your show in Apple or Stitcher is the ability to fill out a short form (so it's not like Anchor is doing heavy lifting here).

iTunes Owner Email

The email listed in your feed for iTunes Owner is not the YOUR email that you entered in your anchor account. The email in your feed is some randomly generated email. I tested mine and sent an email thinking they may forward any email coming to the account to my email listed in my Anchor account. It’s been 24 hours, and I feel it’s safe to say that I’m not going to get that email. This video shows this in more detail.

Things you should know about before Using

The email listed in your feed is the email address Apple uses to contact you if they want to feature you, or if there is an issue with your feed. It appears I’ll never get those emails.

Another example: I was playing with Radio Public’s new Podcast Website tool. I put in my Anchor RSS feed and it sent a link to the anchor email to verify the account. I never got the email and consequently couldn’t play with the tool. Again, Anchor is controlling my options.

When I emailed their support they were able to update my email (four day turn around on the email) but why is it set that way in the first place? Again, a brand new podcaster won't know this, and won't be getting their email.

They Change Your File Format

If you upload an mp3, your file will come out as an m4a. That's fine, and I understand that. This doesn't seem like a big deal. However, if you leave your media host and try anchor for two months creating eight episodes. If you feel you've made a huge mistake, and you try to go back to your old media host (which has your old mp3 file still) they won't be able to pull in your information from your feed without issues.

The files won't match up, and instead of just importing the episodes you did on Anchor, it will duplicate all of your past episodes. I've said it before, what I upload is what I want to download. I understand that if they insert ads they are going to change the file name and format.I'm talking I uploaded an mp3, and an m4a came down. Call me nit-picky, but I want the file I uploaded to be the one that downloads.

Their Podcast Litter Is Getting in the Way of Good Shows

In a recent story by Daniel J. Lewis, he mentioned how 57.7% of Anchor users had three or fewer episodes, and 41.7% had no published an episode in three months.

As anchor has made it easier to start, and because it's free, many people jump on the Anchor bandwagon thinking this is the road to making money only to find making money quickly in podcasting is very hard.

Consequently, these people quit podcasting. If this was a paid media host when you quit your files would be removed, and your feed would become invalid. This would lead Apple (and other apps) to remove the show from their directory.

As Anchor is free, their podcast stays there potentially until someone at Anchor decides to remove it (if ever). This means that while Anchor may brag about having the most new podcast in Apple, they are also creating a substantial amount of “Podtrash” which are shows that quit and just stink up the place.

Their Players Point Back To Anchor

If you embed an Anchor player on your website, if someone clicks the share button on the player it creates (for example) a tweet but the link is back to your Anchor website (not your website). So you're driving more traffic back to Anchor – not to your website.

Their Service Staff is Hit or Miss

In adding the ability to earn money from podcasts, I looked into Anchor's monetization tools. They use stripe. I already had a stripe account. Anchor wanted me to create a new stripe account. I emailed their support and got the typical automated answer (that's fine), but then I got another automated answered that said, “You asked a question about Stripe try these links for answers.” I appreciate the automated effort, but the links didn't answer my question and I never heard from an actual person (and figured it out – when you try to add stripe, stripe will realize you already have an account and tie your current stripe account to Anchor)

If you want to leave their service, their tech support is good at adding the “301 redirect” to your show. This allows you to bring your audience with you (but if you had them submit your show to Apple and Stitcher you don't have access to the additional stats on that platform).

When I sent an email about the email being wrong in my feed, it was resolved in four days from the original message.

Anchor Stats Are Very Basic

I Understand that I'm not paying anything for their service but their stats are basic. It shows you the number of downloads and if that is all you need that is fine.

Anchor stats are Basic

Just know that other companies show you what countries your audience is in, and what apps they are using.

Currently, as more and more podcast hosts are becoming IAB compliant (the industry standard) there has been no comment on if Anchor will pursue this certification. W

You Can Get a Sponsor

It is true Anchor provided a sponsor for my test show. This may have your thinking Anchor has a business model. However, when I started my test shows on Anchor the only sponsor available was

So what was supposed to be a way for the company to make money is another way for Anchor to lose money.

Anchor is paying $10 for every 1000 downloads. That calculates to .01 per download. According to one of the largest media hosting companies the median number for podcasts is around 170 downloads per episode. So you will make $1.70 per episode.

While $1.70 is better than a poke in the eye (most things are), this is not enough to buy a 20 Oz bottle of mountain dew at my local gas station. You're going to need to build an audience for this to create any kind of serious income.

They Take Credit For Things They Don't Do

When anchor launched their website stated they would submit your show to places like Overcast and Pocketcast apps. Both those apps pull from the backend of Apple Podcasts. This happens automatically and Anchor has nothing to do with it.


If you are happy with:

  • Giving up access to your stats in podcasts connect
  • Giving up access to your stats in
  • Having very basic numbers
  • A company that hasn't made any profit
  • A company changing the format of your file
  • A company that stops you from receiving email
  • Is not always forthcoming with information

Then, by all means, use Anchor and have fun creating you podcast. I just wanted you to go in with your eyes open. For more information on what I look for in a podcast media host see

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44 comments on “ Review: Read Before Using
  1. This was an eye opening review.I have a show on Anchor which I was testing .Need to find better options before jumping in it seems.

  2. Jax says:

    Thanks for this information.

    I am working up to starting a podcast and my host of choice was going to be Anchor.FM.. Its the usual.. if its too good to be true….beware..

    Really appreciate your article, I learned a lot… I will share it…

    I am going to look for another host….

    Best Wishes

  3. Thanks for this review. I use Soundcloud and will need to change services once I use up all my free time. I encountered in my search, and thought it might be an option if I fail to raise up the money for long-term hosting elsewhere. But it seemed a bit suspicious, so I’m glad more searching brought me to this review. It answered all my questions and then some. Thanks!

  4. Dallin says:

    We’ve actually moved three of our podcasts over to Anchor and have enjoyed the experience. A lot of these issues are avoidable if you start your podcast on another site and transfer over (for example, our emails all remained the show email addresses.)

    My only complaint is that Anchor hasn’t provided any other sponsors besides themselves. We’ve made almost $600 from their ad spots, and we pull in our own sponsors we dynamically insert (I love this aspect), but Anchor is still only advertising themselves. Which is fine I guess, just kind of dumb.

  5. I knew there was a catch…NOTHING WORTH HAVING IS FREE.

  6. John Dulanie says:

    This article is BS guys. I’d love to speak to the author who admitted he works at a competitor. When I was first starting my podcast using anchor they had me sign in with my Apple ID NOT THEIRS like he states here. This article is total bs. All of it. I only use anchor at the moment. I have access to all the apple stats you’re stating I’d miss out on. No they don’t use “their Apple ID” you use your ow.n very very misinformed. Sad when you google this topic this is close to the top. Leave anchor alone. They’ve been great to me and I’d be more than happy to pay $50-200 per month for the amazing service they provide and the ease of use. I used another platform that costs money and it was 500% harder to use their interface. I’m done typing. Don’t listen to this guy or this article. Good day

  7. John Dulanie says:

    I’m sorry but I’m reporting this article. It’s false. All of It. Including the screengrab of their stats. They give very detailed stats on your podcast users and downloads and listens etc. every single negative thing you’ve said about anchor on here is not true. These comments probably won’t even ever be posted and they are “awaiting f moderation” I wonder who the moderator is. I bet it youhhhuuh!!!

  8. John did you watch the video?

  9. John,
    I’d be happy to speak to you. You can reach me at

    You should read or watch the video. If you let Anchor submit your show “for you” they own your show. If you choose to do it yourself, you do. Uninformed people don’t know they are giving up access.

    Before writing so many comments, maybe you should read the article. I’d be happy to hop on a Zoom call and troubleshoot anything you think is false. There is no need to be defensive or aggressive. We can have a dialogue about it.

    Please reach out.

  10. SweetbabyJayLivin says:

    Sooooo what service would you recommend over Anchor that provides the best for a new podcaster?

  11. use the coupon code sopfree for a free month.

  12. Justin Womack says:

    If you check the box add my email to RSS feed in the settings menu of Anchor, you can then register your email on any podcast network to access the back-end of your stats EVEN IF Anchor distributed the show for you. I manually distributed my show so Im not sure if this is a new feature or not, but I’ve tested it for other shows and it works. As long as you check that box, you can then register your email with Apple Podcasts or Spotify for Podcasters (or anywhere else) and get full access to the analytics on those sites.

  13. Justing, thanks for the info. I’ll check it out.

  14. John Dulanie says:

    Brother I will reach out to you 100% I just saw this. I did read the entire article closely. And again you’re wrong once more. They DO NOT own your podcast. Even if you don’t know anything and they do it all for you they DO NOT OWN YOUR PODCAST. ive talked a lot with them n their higher ups and other ppl who know a lot. Is anchor perfect? No. Is anything? No. But it’s great. A quick google search will reveal they DO NOT own your podcast. If that’s not clear enough reach out to them and they’ll explain it further. If I want to leave them right now and go somewhere else, I’m 100% able to take all of my archive of audio and episodes and my logo and name and everything and continue on another service. Thanks have a good day. I’ll reach out now we can talk.

  15. John Dulanie says:

    And exactly what Justin said here is correct 100%. And even if you do have them distribute your show for you you can still access all your stats. Everything with them is an email away. Possibly you wrote this article before they made massive improvements? They do not own your podcast or any part of it I’ll say once more. And I’ll stick to my original post. This article is full of lies and nothing true!! Not very cool bc I bet many ppl read this and got turned off anchor and spent 100s of $ on another service only to do their podcast for a few episodes and give up. If they started with anchor no money and less time is lost. Also, anchors sponsorship system is pretty great. I’ve made over $200 from ads since May. I know that’s not a ton of money but for a show that for the first 50-60 episodes got like 2-6 listens/downloads it’s not bad (I’m getting about 2,000 listens/downloads per month now. Last month was the first time I hit that number. Good day

  16. John Dulanie says:

    And I’m a fair person. You did state ONE thing I’ve had an issue with as well on here. I just reread the whole article again closely. The stripe issue. I tried to set up a stripe account t to take credit card payments (I sell merch at comedy shows) and had a problem creating a new account since anchor uses stripe n I created a stripe account through them. But with some help from stripe and about 25 minutes all was well and I was able to use my stripe account to take payments for t shirts and stuff. So yes you’re right on that. But it’s an easy fix and not that serious. Everything else on this page is simply not correct or tbh very fair to anchor at all. Thanks. Be well.

  17. John Dulanie says:

    And just as an example by the way so readers know who to trust, me or you, I copied and pasted this paragraph from your article
    Stats breakdown in Anchor
    Just know that other companies show you what countries your audience is in, and what apps they are using.
    Not only are anchors stats wayyyyt more detailed than you describe, for example it shows your top episodes, WHAT COUNTRIES YOUR AUDIENCE IS IN (and what % of all listeners they are) not to mention the territory/county and city. It also shows WHAT APPS they used to listen as well as what kind of device they have (iPhone etc) so you’re 1000000% wrong and wrong for posting this crap and dare I say almost slander vs anchor. Tbh man you’re lucky they don’t sue you for this article. I’m done here. I will still reach out n let you say whatever you need to say. If anyone doesn’t believe me I’m more than willing to screen grab stuff from my anchor “profile” so you can see I am correct here. Email me

  18. John, just a thought. Maybe anchor has updated since I did this article. I appreciate the feedback. I’ll reach out.

  19. You are correct they don’t own your show, but if they submit your show to Apple, they control access to the stats. You are saying this is no longer true so I’ll have to reach out them and see about this. The only way I know is to contact apple to put it under your Apple ID.

  20. Dallas says:

    Very good info.
    I’m SUPER GREEN at podcasting since I’m just getting started. This helped A LOT!!

    As a side giggle, the link at the end of the article (I read everything) is not an active site

  21. Thank GOD I read this before starting with Anchor. Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  22. Yurman Rodriguez says:

    I have never see my stats in Apple. I sent an email to Apple about my issue, and they asked about my internet browser, when I started my podcast and other questions. After 4 emails, Apple could not sent a good response about my stats and only I had to check other information and settings. Now, I have the same problem. I am thinking to change to other hosting. Thank you for this article.

  23. It is the end of 2019 and an update on would be helpful.

  24. Lee says:

    Currently using anchor but hate how limited the stats are.. is there a way to transfer off of anchor and still post on the Apple and Spotify platforms?

    Also how detailed are these platforms in regards to stats?

  25. Yes, Lee. Sing up at using the coupon code sopfree to get a free month. Then we can import your information, and update our show to use Libsyn as the source.

  26. Jonathan says:

    I agree with the comment earlier in the thread – this article is blatant FUD by a competitor. The very short truth is Spotify acquired Anchor, which gave them direct integration with Spotify, and infinitely deep pockets. Given that Spotify has gone all-in on podcasts in recent months, is continuing to invest heavily, and has overtaken Apple Podcasts as the most popular method of listening to podcasts through the end of last year, you can see why competitors would be going on the offensive.

    I concur with the earlier comment too – in order to automate services, you have to proxy as management user accounts. The alternative is to give users the power to hook up their own integrations – which Anchor also provides. Transcoding into other formats isn’t a huge issue either – most decent podcast hosts working at scale apply compression and normalisation to audio too – to provide a level of quality of service management for consumers.

    Like I said – this article is FUD, plain and simple.

  27. Jonathan,
    You’re missing the point. Yes, you can submit your shows manually. However, nowhere near the button that submits your shows automatically does it state “Oh by the way you’re losing control in Apple podcasts when you do this.” They prey on the uninformed.

  28. So have they updated the interface to inform users on how they can inject their own email into the RSS and do things manually? Also, can a user later update this info for the feed or is that impossible even when hosting elsewhere once it’s published?

  29. Jash Baker says:

    Really happy I came across your video before I started on my podcasting journey. Still going to poke around for other opinions, but I think you touched on a number of important aspects that will influence how I evaluate a podcasting platform. Also going to check out school of Podcasting. Thx!

  30. I have never seen Anchor re-encoding my original .m4a audio files even if they are the highest bitrate. Besides Anchor hosts our audio files on the fastest CDN in the world – Amazon CloudFront, which has 200+ PoPs around the world. They stream or download at blazing speeds in any podcast app. Your recommended Libsyn, on the other hand, is so awfully slow to serve our audios and so stingy with their storage. One can’t even upload hi-res audio or you will reach their monthly limit or pay a lot. They don’t even say clearly which cdn they use. They may be using their own cdn but it is so slow and so much latency that even in own The Feed app the episodes take so many seconds to even start playing even at very fast internet speeds. So please don’t show the totally free Anchor in bad light. There is no other free podcast provider like Anchor in the world and that too hosting on Cloudfront.

  31. Why would you want to upload a hi-res audio (let’s say 256 kbps stereo) most people feel 128 kbps stereo is “high.” This will take up more space on people’s devices, take longer to download. Libsyn doesn’t have ONE CDN, they have multiple. If you remember a few years ago Amazon went DOWN and half the internet with it. Libsyn did not as they have multiple CDNs so that if there is an issue with one, you can switch to the other and ensure your files play and download at great speeds. If you can explain how a company that doesn’t charge for its services will be around in 10 years (as all the others have gone out of business) that would be good to know. Is Spotify going to keep a company around that is bleeding money?

  32. Because my podcast also features relaxing music tracks which have very a good sound stage and separation of musical instruments. So it needs 256 kbps. 128 kbps has some artifacting for music and even for voice if we hear with high quality headphones.

    I had been a Libsyn customer for more than a year and I even had custom apps. Whatever CDNs they use or claim to use don’t work anywhere as close to normal CDNs and are quite slow.

    Your argument about Amaon Cloudfront is moot because many Fortune 500 companies use CF. Spotify, Hulu, Amaon Primevideo, etc etc. is served from there as mentioned at: So CF is forced to have a much better uptime SLA by a long shot than a small company like Libsyn who does not have to answer to such big companies for downtimes. And CF is minting money so by your own arguments it is here to stay and improve its peering, pops, and streaming speeds even more all over the world. You are quoting just one downtime of Amazon. But the speeds of Libsyn are always slow.

    Only time will tell but I think your point about Anchor bleeding money has become moot after Spotify purchased Anchor. Spotify charges monthly or yearly subscriptions and they see the podcasts on Anchor as the means they can stay ahead of Apple Music. Audios don’t take so much storage or bandwidth to stream. So it is a chum change for Spotify to run Anchor. So many people are installing the Spotify app specifically to hear Anchor podcasts. And once Spotify gets them into their ecosytem, they are more likely to pay for their plans. I thought this was pretty obvious.

    Besides not all free companies go out of business. Pocket Casts has made their apps free and is still developing their podcasts apps and will do so for a long time to come I guess, because they got a nonprofit to support them.

  33. Tanner Morley says:

    Any information is good but everyone should do their own investigation after receiving as much information as possible, is it good or bad, buyer be ware or whatever we can do to be good at what we do to make everyone aware.

  34. Riccardo says:

    Hi, I read the whole article and watched the video. Honestly, I disagree on many things but on one yes, I can’t access Apple analytics, all my stats are at 0. Some people said that at least 5 different devices for 5 seconds have to play an episode or a show in order to display stasts. So I asked some friends of mine who have iPhones to do this but I still don’t see anything in Apple Analytics. I followed Anchor’s instructions to access Apple stats but there’s nothing to do, do you know how to fix? in fact I was thinking of switching to Spreaker, some people here in Italy use it and works very well. Thanks a lot for your help.

  35. Hello Riccardo,
    If you let Anchor submit your show, they control your access to Apple stats. You need to work with Apple to gain access to your show and have it transferred to your Apple ID

  36. Mark says:

    I use anchor and am super happy with them. It’s true they control your apple analytics at first, which allows them to load your show there, but they clearly explain on their website how to take it back yourself if you want it. I did that and had control of it very easily. The analytics may not be the most advanced but for a free podcasting website, they’re more than you make them out to be…I’m very happy there and wouldn’t even consider looking elsewhere. The platform is very easy to upload and use and I’d recommend others to try it as well. There’s literally nothing to lose, and they have at least one fan here 🙂

  37. Clare says:

    A huge thank you for this post. A friend and I are in the early stages of setting up our podcast now, so this has been really helpful. Does anyone have any recommendations for podcast hosting? I’ve looked at Buzzsprout, Podbean and Acast. Would you recommend one over the other?

  38. Clare, see use the coupon code sopfree

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