Anchors been gaining a fair bit of steam lately with its dead simple mobile podcast editing app. The New York startup has also been branching out in some interesting ways, including the recent launch of a Manhattan-based studio designed to give podcasters access to far better equipment than the usual Skype setup. Today, its taking on another key issue with upstart podcasts: monetization. Anchor is launching Listener Support, a Patreon-style subscription service (with a very NPR name) that lets podcasters make a little money for their hard work. Once enabled on an Anchor dashboard, hosts are encouraged to share a link in their show notes, where listeners can plunk down $0.99, $4.99 or $9.99 a month for the privilege of audio content. After the money starts flowing in, hosts can collect their earnings by hitting the Cash out now button. Anchors taking a 4.5 percent servicing fee from the subscriptions, on top of Stripes standard 5 percent processing charge. iOS and Mac users can also subscribe via Apple Pay. At launch, the service is available for a handful of partner podcasts, including Good Hustle, Over the Thread, Sweet Husbands, So Fashionating and Thats Weird. The move follows the launch of a similar blockchain-based service from top Android podcast app, Castbox.
Anchors app makes it really easy to throw together a podcast. But if you keep doing that and manage to build an audience, there hasnt been an easy way to get paid for it. Now Anchor is launching an option: a feature called Listener Support that allows listeners to pledge $1, $5, or $10 per month to specific podcasts. Each podcast creator will have to individually enable the Listener Support feature. Beyond that, they and their supporters wont have a lot of options — its locked into those three pledge points and a once-per-month payment. The whole thing is very reminiscent of Patreon, which allows people to voluntarily support creators, with their bill coming once a month. Anchor will take a 4.5 percent cut of all payments, and Stripe, its payments processor, will take another 5 percent plus some flat processing and payout fees. Fortunately, podcast listeners wont have to be Anchor users to sign up. After enabling Listener Support, Anchor will automatically add a link to a podcasts show notes on all distributed platforms, which will bring people to a website where they can enter their payment information and select a pledge. While podcasters could always include ads inside of their episodes, Anchor doesnt offer a way to automatically do that or run some kind of pre-roll advertisement, like YouTube does. That means a podcast had to get big enough to find advertisers on its own, which isnt going to be possible for the vast majority of Anchors audience of startup podcasters. Asked about placing ads inside of podcasts, a spokesperson for Anchor said there is potential for additional monetization features on the platform in the future. Anchor still hasnt said how many people are creating or listening through its app. So while Anchor might offer creators an easy way to get started, its not clear how big of an audience it offers them. Last year, however, it began distributing podcasts to different platforms, which allows the platform to be used for creation without limiting shows to the apps built-in audience. Last month, Anchor launched a podcast lab in Manhattan, where podcasters can book time, for free, to come in and record a podcast with a more professional setup. While Anchor has always been about creating and listening to audio, the app only really crystalized its focus on podcasting at the beginning of the year, when it redesigned its app around creating individual shows.