Buzzsprout vs Libsyn vs BluBrry: a Podcast Hosting Showdown
Buzzsprout is one of the older Podcast Hosting platforms on the market, entering the arena back in 2008. In the past year, though, I've watch them really find their feet and find a great niche for themselves inside what's a pretty crowded space. The only thing is, I'm not sure that niche is perfectly obvious to the average Podcaster, who wonders: “What's the heck's the difference between all these guys?!”
Alban, one of their team, got in touch with me recently to ask if I would put a comparison together for them, for exactly that reason. It's something we're asked a lot after all – Why Libsyn? Why BluBrry? Why Buzzsprout? – so I thought, Why Not!
As always, honest disclosure, that means this is a sponsored post through Buzzsprout (thanks for supporting the site Alban!). But, equally as always, you know we only do completely honest content. With that in mind, it's not going to go all Buzzsprout's way!
Here, I'm going to cover the big differences between Buzzsprout and the competition. That competition comes, mainly, in the form of two big players in the industry: Blubrry and Libsyn. So, we're going to look at Buzzsprout vs Libsyn (coupon code podhost for a free month) and Buzzsprout vs BluBrry (coupon code podhost for a free month).
By the end of this review, you'll know exactly which host suits best for your situation.
Remember too, we have a full guide to all of the top podcast hosting platforms on the market, just incase you want to check out the full range.
Buzzsprout is about Simplicity
Before we get to the details, let's start with the top line. Because, Buzzsprout has a particular part of the market they're aiming for. They're not even trying to compete in some of the areas that BluBrry and Libsyn are particularly strong.
So, who are Buzzsprout targeting? They have their sights set directly on the new podcaster market. They want to offer the best possible experience to new podcasters.
The team themselves will tell you what this means: Simplicity.
This brings pros and cons, of course, because the main way to get to that simplicity is to keep the feature list sparse. On the one hand, Buzzsprout offers everything you need to get a show up and running, and to keep it going long term. But, they don't offer a lot of the power features that the old-guard do. Some of those features can come in handy once you start taking podcasting really seriously.
Who Should Use Buzzsprout?
So, the first thing to know is, if you want a hosting platform that focusses on streamlining features, favouring fewer options and greater simplicity, then Buzzsprout might very well be for you.
It's a joy to use, to be honest, putting the minimum in front of you to get the job done, and quickly.
If you'd like a tour of the platform, to see what I mean, take a look at the video below.
Where Do Libsyn & BluBrry Stand Out?
First thing, we've already published a big comparison of this pair – you can read the Libsyn vs BluBrry battle here, so I'm not going to compare them here. Instead, I'll just looking at their top-line strengths.
And the strength of both platforms is in their depth. In the sheer power they offer you in running a podcast. That's because they aim at the whole market, and they're working with audiences from thousands up to millions. Naturally, that leads to a more complex system which can do everything you'd ever need.
One comparison I will make is that Libsyn, for me, manages the complexity a little better than BluBrry. Libsyn's interface isn't as easy to use or as simple as Buzzsprout's, but it does hide away some of the complexity.
BluBrry on the other hand, offers a tonne of features, everything you could need, but even I still get lost in their dashboard sometimes. It's a bit of a beast.
Who Should Use Libsyn or BluBrry?
So, short story is that if you're running a Podcast that would benefit from those power features – extra RSS feeds, premium content, multiple shows, linked directly to WordPress, etc – then Libsyn or BluBrry might be for you.
The Detail Differentiators
Ok, so that's the top-level: Buzzsprout for simplicity, beauty and ease of use, and Libsyn or BluBrry for features and depth.
But, I know you – if you've read this far, you need a bit more detail.
Take it as read that Libsyn and BluBrry can do everything Buzzsprout can do, except for a couple of very specific things below. They've all got good stats, the major settings, players, etc.
So, where do they stand out? Here are the main feature differentiators when looking at Buzzsprout vs Libsyn and Buzzsprout vs BluBrry:
1. Interface Design
Buzzsprout is a really nice looking platform. They've put a lot of work into the design of the app. I know it's superficial, but it makes a difference – the user experience is hugely affected by how an app looks.
On the other hand, both Blubrry and Libsyn are a bit dated. They look like they've been designed by developers, and so the experience suffers a little because of that.
The standard Buzzsprout website, if you use their hosted site, is by far the best looking out of the box, of the three. Again, it's minimalist, but it's modern, and slick. If you're looking at running a podcast on the host's website, then Buzzsprout, for me, offers the best option.
2. Podcast Player
Buzzsprout's design chops extend beyond the website and into the player. Their embedded player is a good looking little unit!
Over the years, thousands of Podcasters have been tempted towards Soundcloud, for the player alone, despite the fact that it's a relatively poor option for podcasting. It's beautiful no question about it. But now, I think, Buzzsprout have something that rivals it for looks.
Blubrry aren't too far behind here, in that their cover-art version of the player is attractive, but Buzzsprout's player is the most polished of the three, for me.
3. Simple Setup
I've gone through setup for all three, numerous times, and Buzzsprout's setup is just as simple as it gets.
If you're a Podcaster that doesn't care about the tech, you just want to get your show out into the world, then Buzzsprout will get you there in the quickest most pleasant way, of all three platforms. (PS. if you need help with that wider setup, check out our How to Start a Podcast article!)
4. Working with WordPress
Here's the main strength, in my mind, for BluBrry: their Powerpress Plugin.
Powerpress is a plugin for your any self-hosted WordPress site (ie. a site you own, that's NOT on WordPress.com) which brings a bucketload of podcasting features to the platform. Once Powerpress is installed, you can run your podcast from right there in your main website, and never have to log into the BluBrry dashboard again.
The workflow to create a new episode, now, is that you create a new Post in WordPress. You type in the title and the page content (your shownotes), and then you simply upload your audio file inside the Powerpress block at the bottom. That sends it right to BluBrry, and adds it to your podcast RSS feed, as soon as you hit publish. There's no doubt that's pretty easy!
If you're using Buzzsprout or Libsyn, the standard WordPress approach is to create the post and type in the details. Then you go and log into the hosting platform, create an episode there, upload the audio file, and copy the embed code it gives you. That embed code is them brought back to WordPress and pasted into the shownotes.
Not exactly a tonne of extra work, I know, but every step matters when you're trying to get a show out, every single week.
Libsyn, to be fair, do have a WordPress app (currently in Beta) and a destination option which makes it possible to publish to your WordPress site from inside the Libsyn interface.
But if you're running a self-hosted WordPress site, I'd recommend BluBrry (coupon code podhost for a free month) as a first choice, because it makes publishing super-easy.
BluBrry and Libsyn have the advantage here in that they'll help you get involved in sponsorship, or to set up premium monetisation features.
Libsyn have some great features here in that they offer dynamic ad insertion, and can help you manage your campaigns. Their MyLibsyn service lets you set up premium content that listeners can subscribe to through their app.
BluBrry do plan to roll out a new dynamic ad option in the near future. They can also help you find sponsors, and they have some great premium content features built right into Powerpress. That means you can password protect a podcast on your own website and sell access via a membership tool.
6. Mobile App
Libsyn offers you the option to create a mobile app right there inside their platform. This can be a great way to reach a new audience or to make things easier and more engaging for your existing listeners.
7. Multiple shows
Libsyn makes it really easy to manage multiple shows within one account. You can quickly switch between individual podcasts, and have them all on different pricing tiers if required.
BluBrry offer some good options here too for very heavy users. Their pro account, for example, is great for anyone that runs more than a few shows, or a whole podcast network, and needs a flat rate for the collection.
Final Decision: How to Choose
At the end of the day, there's no one perfect platform for anyone, but I hope this has given you a good idea of what to choose.
One thing to bear in mind before you choose: all three platforms – Buzzsprout, Libsyn and BluBrry – are run by brilliant teams. Each and every one know their stuff back to front, and the support they all offer is great.
That means that it's possible to switch platform relatively easily, and they'll happily help you do so. You wouldn't want to be doing it every week, of course, but if you start out with simple, and move to complex and few years down the line, that's totally possible.
So, with that in mind, here are my general rules:
- If you don't need fancy features, just a quick, easy and very effective platform for your show, choose Buzzsprout.
- If you run a show through your own self-hosted WordPress site, choose BluBrry (coupon podhost for a free month).
- If you're looking for serious help in monetisation and reach, Libsyn wins on it's mobile app and it's sponsorship and premium content features (coupon podhost for a free month).
I hope that solves your Buzzsprout vs Libsyn or Buzzsprout vs BluBrry questions. But remember, if you need a rundown of them again, plus the other contenders, check out our wider best podcast hosting platforms article here. Otherwise, good luck with getting started, and have fun!