Blog

Sounder.fm Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

Content

Sounder.fm Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

Sounder.fm recently raised $7.7 million in Series A Funding, so it seems they’re on to something. The platform's emphasis on discoverability certainly makes them stand out from the crowd, and their technology and AI driven approach to podcasting gives them a competitive edge against a lot of other pre-existing hosting platforms. For podcasters who are serious about scaling and growing their content, reaching new audiences, and tapping into the power of technology to drive discoverability, Sounder may just be the perfect solution. In this article, we break down Sounder’s key features, take an in-depth look at how the platform works, and whether it really will help podcasters take things to the next level. 

TL:DR 

  • Sounder is a podcast hosting platform with a focus on expanding reach and discoverability. 
  • You can use Sounder for free up to 5k streams 
  • All paid subscribers get unlimited hosting and podcasts 
  • Some of Sounder’s best features include collaborative working, Audio SEO, social sharing and programmatic ads. 
  • Best for podcasters obsessed with growing their show 

How we’re reviewing Sounder.fm 

Before we jump into Sounder.fm, it’s important to understand our criteria and how we’re measuring the platform. Though, of course, every podcaster will have different factors to take into consideration, we’ve come up with 7 key components that we think make up a good podcast hosting platform: 

Pricing 

Whether you’re choosing a hosting platform for the first time or looking to move from your existing one, budget and pricing will be the first question you ask yourself. We look at how a platform divides up its pricing plans as well as the features included at each tier. 

Analytics 

The ability to measure and track your podcast’s performance is non-negotiable. We look at a platform’s podcast analytics, what kinds of metrics they offer, and how they’re laid out. 

Media Player 

You might think an embeddable media player isn’t that necessary, but it’s key to sharing your podcast beyond the obvious major listening platforms. We look not only at whether a platform simply offers you one, but at how usable it is and whether you’re able to customize it to match your podcasts’ branding. 

File Hosting 

We’re sticklers for audio quality. Which is why we look for platforms that support lossless file formats that preserve the integrity of your audio recording. 

In addition, given the rise of video podcasting, we also value platforms that support both traditional audio podcasts and video podcasts. The ability to livestream from your podcast hosting platform is also another plus. 

Distribution 

You should be able to submit your show easily and quickly to all the major listening platforms straight from your podcast hosting platform. This process should ideally be automated. 

Monetization 

Podcasters looking to make their podcast a revenue stream should look for platforms that offer a diverse range of ways to monetize and maximize the value of their content output. This could include advertisements (programmatic and host-read), podcast subscriptions and donations. 

Useability and Additional Features 

Lastly but certainly not least, the podcast hosting platform should (at the very least) be usable. But ideally, the interface will be intuitive and easy-to-use, including features that enhance the podcasting experience. 

Sounder: Quick Takeaways 

Quick summary: Sounder is a unified podcast hosting, management, and distribution that is aimed at podcasters looking to enhance their discoverability and expand their reach. 

Price: Free to $10.39 per month (as well as Enterprise pricing on application). 

Sounder USPs:

  • Growth and Discovery. Sounder helps podcasters to grow their show and expand their reach. 
  • Collaborative working through Sounder Organizations. Invite your team members to work collaboratively with you. 
  • Audio SEO focus. The Sounder team understands the importance and value of SEO for discoverability. 
  • Social sharing with Audio and VideoBites and a customizable media player. 
  • AI Driven Programmatic Advertising. Monetize your podcast with Sounder’s AI driven ad-insertion technology. 

What is Sounder? 

Founded in 2019 by former Google and Spotify executives, Sounder is trying to disrupt the podcasting industry by ‘organizing and shaping the future of audio.’ A hosting, management, and distribution tool at heart, their principle aims are to bring discoverability, community and ease to podcasting. They have pricing plans aimed at creators of all sizes, though have a definite focus on shows that are proactively scaling and growing. 

Their high-powered features which tap into the technical back-end of podcast discoverability (think Audio SEO and Social Sharing) put a new perspective on discovery and engagement. Meanwhile, their AI Dynamic Ad Insertion technology helps to automate the monetization process.  

How much does Sounder cost? 

Sounder has three tiers of pricing: 

Basic - Free 

  • 1 Podcast 
  • Up to 5K streams per month
  • Host and one collaborator on the account
  • Podcast and episode pages
  • Analytics
  • Sounder Audio Player 
  • Soundbite Audio Share 
  • Free episode transcriptions
  • In-stream audio search 
  • Support within 72 hours 
  • And more 

Sounder Plus - $10.39/mo (billed as $124.70 per year) 

  • Unlimited Podcasts
  • Up to 50K streams per month 
  • 4 collaborators
  • Ad-free podcast and episode pages
  • Analytics Plus 
  • Customizable Sounder Player
  • Video & Audio Share 
  • Custom Domains 
  • Automatic Distribution to YouTube
  • Customer Support within 24 hours 
  • Automated distribution 
  • Audio visualization, reimagined
  • Insights driven growth optimization 
  • Advance episode scheduling
  • Seamless collaboration 
  • In-stream audio search 
  • Soundbite Audio Share
  • Videobites 
  • 10 extra sounder player themes
  • Sounder player customization 

Enterprise - pricing on application 

Everything in Plus, as well as: 

  • Unlimited Streams
  • Unlimited Collaborators
  • Dedicated Hosting 
  • Dedicated Support
  • Custom Whitelabeling 
  • Customized Whitelabeling 
  • Customized Sounder API access
  • Custom Analytics
  • Dedicated Cloud Environment 

Advantages of Sounder 

Free to get started

Until you’re seeing 5000 monthly streams, you can use Sounder for free. They even offer use of their automated transcription feature. This means that podcasters who haven’t made their mind up about using Sounder can ‘try before they buy’. 

Unlimited Hosting & Podcasts 

Sounder offers unlimited hosting and podcasts to its paid subscriptions, meaning you don’t have to worry about bandwidth or upload limits. 

Intuitive interface

Designed with the user in mind, Sounder is easy and straightforward to use. The intuitive UX combined with features built to enhance your podcasting experience, makes Sounder a pleasure to use. 

WAV compatible 

Sounder supports WAV files, although it recommends converting to mp3 for maximum speed and compatibility. In addition, there is a 2GB maximum file size limit. 

Collaborative working 

Sounder is aimed at podcasts looking to grow and they understand that this usually means a whole production team behind the scenes. Sounder’s ‘Organizations’ setup means that you can work collaboratively with your team members and assign different permissions and access levels depending on the person’s position. 

Embeddable Sounder Media Player 

Share your podcast beyond the major listening platforms with the embeddable Sounder Media Player. Depending on your subscription level, you’ll have varying levels of customizability too. Your media player also gives your listeners the chance to interact and share your content using Soundbites (more on this later). 

Note your media player stores all your episodes, rather than just playing one. 

Transcriptions

Sounder’s transcription function means that you can make the most out of your content from an SEO, accessibility and versatility perspective. All your uploaded episodes are automatically transcribed unless you manually turn this setting off. 

Podcast Website

As soon as you create a podcast with Sounder, they’ll create a customizable podcast website for you too. This works on mobile too. 

Shareable on social media 

Sounder makes it quick and easy to ensure your podcast is as social-ready as possible. 

Sound bites, shareable via your Sounder player, allow listeners to share their favorite clips from your podcast. Alternatively, using Pinpoint Audio Share, you or your audience can share a specific timestamp in your episode. 

Meanwhile, you can make your own promotional assets - Videobites - that are perfect for more visual based social platforms such as TikTok or Instagram.

Monetization 

Dynamic Ad- Insertion 

Sounder’s integration with Triton’s dynamic audio ad insertion technology helps podcasters make money from their podcasts (new and back catalog) through programmatic ads. You can make space for pre, mid and post roll ads in your podcasts and choose how many ads you want per episode. 

Host-read Ads

Podcasters with more than 25K monthly streams are eligible to secure host-read ad deals. Sounder partnered with DAX (Digital Ad Exchange) to help its creators connect with brands interested in advertising through podcasts. 

Disadvantages of Sounder

Doesn’t support video podcasting 

If you’re not a video podcaster this won’t affect you, but if you’re invested in video podcasting then Sounder isn’t for you.

Can’t livestream 

Live Streaming is becoming a big staple of the podcasting world and unfortunately Sounder hasn’t caught on just yet. 

No creation features 

Though Sounder is a one stop shop for everything podcasting after you’ve recorded, the platform doesn’t offer any creation or editing tools, which may be frustrating for podcasters looking for a consolidated solution. 

No podcast subscriptions or donations 

Finally, despite Sounder’s impressive ad-based monetization tools, the platform does not have integrations for podcast subscriptions or donations that many other hosting platforms do. This may be a dealbreaker for some podcasters who are seeking diverse monetization opportunities, or that want to manage their subscriptions directly from their hosting platform. 

Manual (initial) distribution 

Sounder doesn’t have an automated tool to help you first submit your show to the major listening platforms. This means that you’ll need to do so manually for every single one that you want to distribute to. They do, however, provide detailed instructions for most platforms. 

Key features of Sounder  

Organizations 

A collaborative workspace for your podcast. Manage all your shows with your team from your Sounder dashboard. 

Different permission levels and roles to suit your entire production team, so that the relevant people have access to the right show(s): 

  • Organization admins can read and edit any podcast in the organization 
  • Organization viewer has ‘read-only’ permissions, so they can view all podcasts in your organization 
  • Podcast admins are able to read and edit any podcasts assigned to them 
  • Podcast view can only ‘view’ but not ‘edit’ any podcasts assigned to them in the organization. 

Sounder Player 

Basic users of Sounder can still customize the Sounder player to a certain extent, choosing between three themes: Classic, Daylight and Midnight. If you’ve upgraded to Sounder Plus or Enterprise, you can choose from an additional ten themes and toggle the color to match your branding. 

In-Stream Audio Search 

In-stream audio search makes it easier for your listeners to navigate your content or return to a particular part by searching keywords or topics within a specific episode or across your entire catalog. 

Sounder Transcriptions

All Sounder users can get their podcast episodes transcribed for free. This is an automatic function, so once you’ve uploaded the episode, all you need to do is navigate to Episodes > Transcript. 

If you don’t want your episodes to be transcribed, simply head to Apps > Sounder Transcriptions and  uncheck the box that says ‘Allow Sounder to transcribe and publish all episode transcripts on your episode webpages.’ 

Sounder also has a feature called ‘Transcription Editor Keywords’. Given that errors are fairly unavoidable in an automated transcription, Transcription Editor Keywords helps you to customize key words such as people’s names, slang or dialect, and Sounder will take care of the rest. 

Episode Soundbite Audio Share 

Soundbites are an integrated feature of the Sounder Player. This allows your listeners to interact with and share their favorite moments of your content rather than the whole episode. 

All they have to do is click on the ‘share’ button on the Sounder Player, select ‘Soundbite Audio Share’ rather than ‘Share full episode’, then toggle the exact clip that they want to share. You can share your audio bite by embedding it on a site of your choice or sharing it on your socials. 

Podcast Website 

Once you create your podcast or migrate it over to Sounder, a podcast website will be automatically generated. You can customize the themes and colors. 

Audio SEO 

Audio SEO is key to bolstering the discoverability of your podcast. Sounder offers free transcription services so that every single episode becomes an SEO asset too. 

In addition, Sounder guides creators through Audio SEO, since it’s not an exact science quite yet. Their strong foundation in SEO best practices and awareness of the rapidly changing landscape means that they’re well positioned to help creators maintain their discoverability and competitive edge moving forward. 

Videobites

Sounder’s Videobites feature makes it super easy to share your podcast on socials. Easily convert your audio into social-ready video clips, create a ‘shareable link’ and then track how your video bite is doing straight from your Sounder dashboard. 

Sounder is best for podcasters looking to drive growth 

Sounder is all about discoverability and expanded reach. Although it is a podcast host and management tool, what really sets it out from the crowd is its proprietary SEO, search, transcription and sharing tools that truly help to maximize the value and reach of every single episode. For this reason, Sounder is probably not for hobbyists or new podcasters who are dabbling with content creation. It’s a platform that is totally geared toward creators who are committed to scaling their show and accelerating their audience growth. 

First look at Sounder Dashboard 

When you first log in, you land on your Sounder.fm Dashboard. You can see your total streams and revenue stats at the top, and then below you can navigate between all your active shows. 

Sounder.fm dashboard

If you click ‘Manage podcast’, you’ll head into your podcast specific dashboard where you can edit your show’s information, take a look at its performance, toggle monetization settings and more. 

Sounder Manage Podcast page

How to Get Started with Sounder

Step 1: First, create your account. 

Step 2: Click ‘Create New Podcast’. You’ll need to have your podcast cover art, title, description and category ready. 

Sounder podcast host Welcome page

Step 3: Upload your audio file, title your episode, write a description, select your podcast category and choose a timezone. When you’re happy click ‘Save’ 

How to Migrate your Podcast to Sounder

Follow these steps to migrate your podcast to Sounder:

Step 1: Login (or Sign up) and click ‘Import your podcast’

Sounder Import your podcast on the Welcome page

Step 2: First, you need to find your podcast using your RSS feed URL, title or the author. 

Step 3: Validate your RSS feed and make sure the data is accurate. 

Step 4: Configure your podcast for Sounder

Step 5: Then verify your ownership of the podcast by clicking on the link in your verification email to show that you’re actually authorized to import the show. 

Sounder has podcast-host specific instructions for migrating from your existing platform. 

How to distribute your podcast using Sounder.fm 

Sounder.fm has dedicated instructions for submitting your podcast to different listening platforms since every single one has a slightly different submission method. 

You’ll need to locate your Sounder.fm RSS URL which you can do by heading to ‘Manage Podcast’ and copying the RSS feed link that you find there.

Step 1: First head to your podcast within your dashboard

Sounder.fm podcast dashboard

Step 2: On the left-hand tab click ‘distribute’. In the distribute tab, you’ll see all the major listening platforms and whether or not your show is connected. If you’re not yet connected, click on ‘settings’.

Sounder distribution tab

Step 3: Under settings, you’ll see the URL for the specific Sounder.fm instructions for how to submit to that platform. Copy and paste the link and follow their guidance. 

Distributing a poadcast on Sounder.fm

How to monetize your podcast using Sounder 

To start making money from your podcast with Sounder, you need to enable monetization. Go to your podcast dashboard, and scroll down to where you see ‘Enable Monetization’. 

Enabling monetization on Sounder.fm

Note that you need an active Stripe account to be able to monetize with Sounder, so if you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to create one first. 

If you navigate to the ‘Monetize’ tab, you’ll be able to see all your latest stats and toggle your settings. For example, you can enable the automatic insertion of pre-roll and post-roll ad breaks into future episodes and manage your ad-breaks. 

Sounder.fm's monetization tools

Ad breaks on Sounder.fm

Programmatic Audio Ads using DAI 

Sounder lets you monetize through dynamically inserting programmatic advertisements in your content. Don’t worry though, creators have the ability to insert ad breaks manually into their episodes so that ads are played at natural moments in the audio. Pre and post-roll ads are automatically inserted. 

How to insert ad breaks in Sounder

In the ‘Monetizable Episodes module’, you’ll be able to see all the episodes that are eligible for monetization. Here you can click ‘Manage’ on the specific episode in question, and either modify existing ad breaks or insert new ones using the Sounder player to preview your audio. 

Here you can also select how many ads you want to play during a given ad break (a maximum of two unique audio ads can play in a single ad break). 

Sounder Podcast Analytics 

Sounder podcast analytics

Through your dashboard, you can find in-depth insights into your podcast’s performance. Here are the kinds of metrics that Sounder gives you: 

  • Number of streams. 
  • Audience numbers. 
  • Time of day distribution - when your audience is listening to your podcast. 
  • Geographic location - where your listeners are tuning in from. 
  • Keywords - this shows you the keywords that your listeners are searching for when they’re looking for your show. 
  • Referrals - meaning how many people have been referred from Sounder Players or Videobites, for example. 
  • Device, applications & browsers - how and what your listeners are streaming your content  

Sounder also gives you the option to integrate and connect with other third-party measurement platforms so that you can get the fullest picture of how your podcast is performing: 

  • Proxy integration 
  • Google analytics
  • Google Tag manager
  • Facebook Pixel 

Sounder Alternatives 

Anchor vs Sounder

Anchor and Sounder are similar in that they’re relatively new players that are out to disrupt the podcasting world. The biggest difference is Anchor’s creation and editing capabilities, as well as the fact that their whole range of features is available for free. 

Anchor and Sounder both perform well in terms of useability and also offer a good standard of analytics, ease of distribution, and the ability to monetize. Although Anchor offers the additional ability to offer podcast subscriptions and donations unlike Sounder. 

Buzzsprout vs Sounder 

From a podcast hosting and management point of view, Buzzsprout and Sounder are fairly equally pitched. However, Buzzsprout’s free pricing plan loses out considering it only allows you 2 hours monthly upload with a 90 day limit. Compared to Sounder’s generous free plan, this is essentially a free (but limited) trial. Further, the cheapest Buzzsprout plan at $12/month only allows for 3 hours per month, compared to Sounder’s Plus plan that caters to up to 50K streams. 

In addition, though Buzzsprout offers transcriptions, they make you pay $0.25 a minute for them, compared to Sounder’s free offering. 

Finally, the Buzzsprout interface may feel clunky to some users when compared to Sounder’s sleeker design. 

Soundcloud vs Sounder

Though Soundcloud is a well-known name, it’s a platform that’s designed for all kinds of audio creators rather than podcasters alone. This difference is pretty important because it means that its features and useability aren’t geared specifically towards a podcaster’s needs. Sounder, by contrast, is designed with podcasters in mind. Every new feature or add-on is introduced because the Sounder team believes it will enhance or improve creators’ podcasting process. 

Sounder vs Podbean

Podbean targets ‘podcast newbies to professional podcasters’, whereas Sounder, as we’ve seen, focusses on podcasters looking for growth and content development. This difference trickles down into the platform’s respective features and functionality. 

For example, Podbean caters to podcasters looking for a total one-stop-shop for podcasting - offering recording and editing tools, as well as a management and distribution platform. Sounder, by contrast, is focussed solely on post-production podcast management. 

One big similarity is that both platforms offer dynamic ad insertion to help you monetize your podcast. 

Lastly, Podbean’s most basic paid plan is slightly cheaper than Sounder’s at $9 per month. 

Final thoughts on Sounder 

Sounder is definitely out to change the way podcasters work. They’re fusing an understanding of digital marketing, SEO and socials and bringing it right to the podcaster’s door. Even podcasters who aren’t that well versed in scaling their content will be in good hands with Sounder. This is a podcast hosting and management platform that is all about discoverability and maximizing reach. For podcasters looking to grow their show, this is definitely a sound option. 

FAQs about Sounder 

Is Sounder good for podcasts? 

As always, it depends what you’re looking for in your podcast host. If you’re just a hobbyist and aren’t seeking a platform that will help you grow your show as a business, the likelihood is, Sounder won’t suit your needs. Conversely, if you’re a podcaster that is seeking more ways to monetize and connect with new audiences, you’re sure to love Sounder’s range of features. 

Is Sounder podcast free? 

Sounder has a basic subscription level that is free. You’ll get access to a lot of the platform’s features up to 5K streams per month. 

Who owns sounder FM? 

Sounder was co-founded by Kal Amin and Dan Daugherty.

Want to read more on podcast hosting platforms? Check out our other reviews:

Subscribe to our newsletter

Highly curated content, case studies, Riverside updates, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

19

min read

15 Best Webcam Recording Software for High-Quality Videos

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

9

min read

Tips for Video Recording Yourself in Professional Quality

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

15

min read

Corporate Training Videos: 15+ Impactful Examples to Learn From

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.