I have a set of criteria that I use when I look at podcast media hosting.
- What I upload, is what I want downloaded completely unchanged, or at least in the same format I uploaded it.
- Give me a way to leave without having to beg.
- Charge me for your service.
- Provide accurate stats
- Provide support
It seems like every day there is a new service for podcasters. So let's look at OmnyStudio.com
I was a little confused as this hosting company thinks outside the box. They seemed geared toward helping radio stations. Their terminology does not match what most of us use to describe our podcasts. What we call a podcast (or a Show) they call a program. They also call a podcast a playlist (so you can have a program called “Weekly Web Tools” with a playlist called “Weekly Web Tools.” What we call and episode, they call a clip. Then they have a program, which is new to most of us. It is the company that runs the programs (podcasts). They also have recordings, which are the raw files that you can use their online editing tool to turn into clips (episodes). First impression? Confusion, and I was off to their help documentation to figure it all out.
Unique Things They Offer
While not 100% unique (auphonic.com does this) Omnistudio allows you to upload an intro and outro (which could be quick commercials spots) that are “stitched” together with your main file. This is done as you upload you file.
On Premise Recording is a new tool. This is software that looks to be designed for radio stations so that you can record the show and have it sent to your Omny Studio as a recording. You can even have it setup to record your live stream (this is something the folks at Omnistudio can setup). So when Binky and Whiz go live every Morning, Omny studio appears to have to tools to capture it and bring it into your dashboard. This is an interesting feature, but I'm not sure the average poddcaster will need this (but I can see where radio stations might love this automation). There is one thing to consider here (for Radio) the music you play on your station may not be licensed for downloads. This might be why they have this audio going into the system as recordings (where they can be trimmed, cut and stitched back together online).
You have the ability to do basic editing in the cloud. This is something Libsyn, Blubrry, SoundCloud, PodBean are not. The question is, is this a feature? Do most podcasters need to edit from anywhere?
You can have multiple users under one account. This is great for podcasters who are working with a team.
You can export your audio as a video. Here again I ask, who is looking for this feature? (not me). The only thing worse that a talking head, is a video with NOTHING but a simple image.
Another Pretty Player
Their player is a nice clone of SoundCloud with customizable color.
there are multiple configuration of this that include the artwork inside the mp3. The player works well on Facebook and twitter. There are sharing buttons for twitter and facebook (but no subscribe buttons).
As I mentioned before, it will stitch an intro and outro with your main mp3 file into one finished mp3 file at 128 kbps. I mentioned that you can have a playlist and a program that can be a “Show/Podcast.” You can tag a file that will automatically add it to a playlist (podcast). This will take the work out of having to create an episode and then tell the system there is an episode. Here again I can see a network managing files and with a few simple “if this then that” commands directing their workflow to produce multiple shows (hang tight, there is a “but”).
Their Support Seemed Quick
When I sent them my critieria, thy responded quickly.
Their Stats Are Basic
I was impressed that if you're using a third party stats service like Blubrry or Podtrac, you could insert their redirect into the feed and your content (impressive).
The Things They Fail On
Because they are doing editing in the cloud, and they are re-encoding your file (even if you're not stitching anything) they completely wipe our your ID3 tags. So while one media host (Blubrry) has made it easy to create the ID3 tags for you, OmniStudio has wiped them off the planet.
Well, when someone downloads your show, and they play it with a tool like Windows media player, your artwork doesn't show up, your title doesn't show up, your name as the artist doesn't show up, and you look like a hack.
Now, granted, a majority of shows are played on a website, or listened to on a phone. There are some people who will download an episode (so they can listen at 2X speed) and when they do, you get the Windows gray music note of death. Now if you're using Pat Flynn's Smart Podcast Player, people can speed up your show on your site.
They also change the file name. Here again, most people won't notice because they aren't doing anything with the file. They are consuming on a portable device (about 70% these days). So when someone downloads the file, they rename it to the name of the episode (so it could be worse, i.e.). My point has always been if Libsyn, Blubrry, and Spreaker can do it, why can't other people? You can get a free month at Libsyn.com, Blubrry.com, Spreaker.com, or Podbean.com using the coupon code sopfree.
Things That Make Me Worried
For $9 a month you can upload as much audio as you want. They don't say it on their website, but they do offer unlimited downloads. A friend of mine had corresponded with them and said, “They said that if a show got up to millions of downloads they would have to charge more for that, but they haven't run into that yet.” Give me some guidlines so I know what the rules of the game are. In the email I had with them Matt said, “Like other content platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud, we are supporting content creators to create and share as much content as possible. We will work with top-perfoming content creators to build business models that can generate revenue.”
Thing I Need to Investigate
When I asked them about what they used to encode the files, Mat stated “We are using a combination of ffmpeg and proprietary audio processing technologies to edit and encode audio in our system.” Matt was up front with me and stated, “We currently process and reencode all uploaded audio files to optimize them for our editing workflow, so some ID3 metadata may be lost.” I guess by some he meant all.
As I'm using their free service I didn't get to see what “Advanced sharing” looks like.
Their current paid service has some thing listed as coming soon. These include:
Monetize with ads (hopefully this won't be more $2 cpm swill)
They cost $9 a month which currently cheaper then soundclouds $15/month.