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Podcasting questions answered
Answers to common questions about podcasting on Substack.
When publishing a podcast on Substack, you can share free episodes broadly—publishing to your Substack subscribers and listeners on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or Pocket Casts simultaneously.
But podcasting on Substack offers you some superpowers:
Own your audience: Just like everything else on Substack, podcasters will always own their email lists. Export listeners’ emails and walk away at any time if you wish.
Direct connections with your listener community: On Substack, podcasting can transform from a one-way megaphone into more of a conversation. Invite listeners to weigh in on episodes directly with you and with each other through comments and discussion threads, or not. You’re in control.
Enrich the listener experience: Publishing essays, additional audio, video, and extended show notes is easy when you distribute your podcast through Substack.
Seamless paywall: Substack is the only podcasting host where free listeners can convert to paid subscribers in one space. Share free episodes broadly, or consider putting episodes or (premium) content behind a paywall to build a subscription business around your podcast.
Own your content: Podcasters retain all rights on the work they publish, including the rights to republish material elsewhere, and media rights. Substack takes no cut of any potential movie or TV adaptations.
Will I keep the email addresses for my podcast listeners?
You will always own your subscribers’ email addresses and be able to export them at any time, if you wish. When a new person subscribes from the Substack iOS app or the Substack website, you’ll get their email address.
If you distribute your podcast through other hosting platforms, there will be a distinction between people who listen on those podcasting apps and people who subscribe directly to your Substack.
How can subscribers listen to podcasts hosted on Substack?
You can listen from your email, in the new Substack iOS app, or on the web, as well as register your podcast to be distributed (via RSS feed) to Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify (public feeds only), and more. You can find more information on how to distribute your podcast to other platforms here.
How do free and paid subscriptions work with podcasts?
Free subscribers get all free episodes in their podcast feed. They do not see any paid or paywalled content in their feed.
Paying subscribers can listen seamlessly in the Substack iOS app, or will receive a private RSS feed that they can enter into an alternative podcast player of their choice. This link is included in their welcome email and is accessible on the Substack episode page.
What happens when a writer uses the early-access feature for a podcast?
If you use the early-access feature for a podcast episode, the episode will be initially posted for subscribers only and distributed via private RSS feeds. When the post is opened for all subscribers, it is then sent out to public RSS feeds in addition to free subscribers' email inboxes.
How do I set up a podcast on Substack?
We created a step-by-step guide here.
How much does it cost to host my podcast on Substack?
It's free to host and distribute podcasts via Substack. Podcasters who turn on paid subscriptions keep 90% of their revenue, minus credit card fees.
What about advertising?
Just the way we believe writers should be rewarded directly by readers for the value of the writing they produce, we feel podcasters should be rewarded by listeners in a direct relationship via subscription, with no intermediaries, advertising, or algorithms.
How do podcast listens show up in the dashboard stats?
You can view podcast-specific stats, like total downloads and average downloads after publish date, in the Podcast tab on your main dashboard. There, you’ll also see an Episodes table where you can see publish date, downloads, and paid subscriptions per episode, as well as tables for Top countries and Top players, so you can understand where your audience is listening. Stats for each episode post (e.g. link clickthrough) can also be viewed in the Posts dashboard.
We’ve added new articles to our support center about podcasting. If you’re having trouble, head there.
If you have questions about how the app works, you can ask those in the comments section of this post and we’ll do our best to answer.