Is Spreaker the Future of Internet Radio?

social media toolsIf you’re not a huge fan of writing, it’s probably safe to say that you’ve considered speaking your content instead of organizing it into written words.

If that’s true, then you’ve probably heard of several podcast-type platforms, all the way up to the big dog in the industry, BlogTalkRadio.

Because demand is the main driver of more podcasts, platforms have evolved to add a number of social and practical features to entice would-be hosts to join their community. Today, we add a new face to that group with Spreaker.

spreaker

I wonder why they feel the need to let me know that this is legal…

Spreaker gives you two immediate calls to action. First, “Free the DJ inside you,” which doesn’t really appeal to the inner marketer in me. Second, they ask you to “Talk to the world.” Not a bad start, but I wanted to see if Speaker was all taglines and hullabaloo before I passed a final judgment.

Reasons to Give Spreaker a Try

Fun Interface/Tools

spreaker interface

Using the DJ Console you can create both live and prerecorded shows.

Spreaker just looks cool. When you pop open the interface you actually feel like a real DJ… for a second. Spreaker gives you the option to record your session for future posting, or you can be brave and record a live session immediately. Be warned that if you record a live session, it will be automatically posted on your Facebook wall, so be careful when you test the platform out for the first time.

You have clear areas to tell you how much time you have left, and how much time there is until the next commercial break. Spreaker handles all commercials, so it’s kind of like a DIY (do it yourself) Talktainmentradio.com. You also have the option to upload samples of music for your show into a toolbox for use at any time, and even a pool of sound effects to integrate into your broadcast.

Great Tutorial Videos

One of the issues marketers have with this medium is that often there isn’t enough direction from the makers of the platform you’re using on how to use it effectively. Spreaker really stood out here. In six very helpful videos, you feel like a Spreaker pro in less than half an hour.

Unfortunately, this is the end of the good news…

Reasons to Give Spreaker the Boot

Nothing new

Notice that the previous section is really short? That’s because there’s really nothing more to say about Spreaker. It’s a DJ-type platform with a mixer that lets you record “shows” and add soundtracks as you wish. Sound familiar? Of course, there are tons of platforms out there that do the exact same thing (minus the mixing live). Spreaker seems to have focused a lot of time on the “fun” aspect of their platform, and might have slacked on the side where they offer something new or different from their competitors.

When you’re in an industry with a large entrenched competitor like BlogTalkRadio, it’s important to carve out your niche and differentiate yourself, which brings me to my next point:

Is this for marketers?

Looking through the existing shows on Spreaker.com, you’ll notice that they’re about 90% radio shows (with music) and 10% talk shows. There’s probably a reason for this. Spreaker is carving out its niche to be music-focused, and it’s being adopted well by that niche.

Unfortunately for many marketers, that’s not a realistic avenue to use when reaching your customer base. Even their blog posts unapologetically lean towards the music mix radio shows, not showcasing a talk alternative until recently. Sometimes you just need to read the tea leaves…

In my testing of the platform I ended up feeling more like a DJ and less like a communicator of anything valuable. Don’t get me wrong, I like Spreaker and Spreaker is fun to use. I’ll even go as far as saying Spreaker is a great niche platform; unfortunately, I believe that the general marketer is not included in that niche.

My Final Judgment

For the general marketer, Spreaker is the Easy-Bake Oven to BlogTalkRadio’s Cameron Mitchell Restaurant, minus the burned fingers. This is a tool that can entertain you and your friends for a while, but I fear that it will end up tucked away in marketers’ “online closet of abandoned platforms” when the novelty wears off, and it will.

This is a tool that caters to music mixing and, to be honest, that’s not what many of us are looking to do with an online radio show. I imagine that the sound effects and cool tools are fun to play with, but they don’t offer any long-term benefit to the user or the listener. At the end of the day, an awesome-looking embedded audio widget isn’t enough to choose Spreaker over a tool like BlogTalkRadio in terms of functionality and community.

Spreaker makes the mistake of thinking that it’s competing with terrestrial radio… on the Internet. The problem is that terrestrial radio is competing with tools much more advanced and is just now beginning to catch up in the social space when it comes to distributing content online. Spreaker seems to have forgotten about the 800 lb. gorilla already dominating online audio (as well as the myriad of second-tier competitors). They’ve chosen a foe they can beat handily, but that unfortunately is irrelevant.

Have you used any online radio show recording program to promote your brand? If so, which one? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

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About the Author, Elijah Young

Elijah R. Young is the lead strategist and owner of Social Talk Live. He's also a business strategist who helps existing and new companies promote and grow their business. Other posts by »




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  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Elijah,

    Your insight is always good – Thanks for the informative post.

    You may be right that the novelty will wear off.  But it is fun to play with some groovy new tools once in awhile.

    I love video, but don’t necessarily like myself on video.  But voice could be a different playground.  As a musician, it could be fun to mix voice with sound and see what comes.

    Can’t wait to at least give it a whirl.  Can you share a bit more about your experience with the widget?

    ~Keri

  • PhilMershon

    Elijah, thanks for your honest review. I must admit that the product title would have led me to a different conclusion – that it was designed for speakers!

  • http://mrtunes.ca/ Mr. Tunes

    as a DJ, i looked at spreaker, but the overall product didn’t appeal to me. i have been using mixlr to do a few live broadcasts of one of my podcasts (about producing and marketing music).

    i wanted to try doing it live a few times to get people tweeting along with the show. then the podcast would have more listener feedback built in.

    i think there’s huge potential for this area of tech. even though spreaker might not be the right fit at this exact moment, we have to experiment with rich media if we want to stand out.

  • http://twitter.com/DigitalSisterhd Digital Sisterhood

    Thanks for sharing this tool with me. I needed something to use with my Kickstarter supporters this summer and fall for updates.  

  • Sarahzeldman

    So what is a good alternative to Blog Talk Radio — for marketers?

  • http://blog.fandura.com Elijah R. Young

    To be honest, I haven’t found anything that is an alternative, you could always just host your audio on your own server  but in terms of community and social features, I’d stay with the leader of the pack.

    Elijah

  • http://blog.fandura.com Elijah R. Young

    You never know where platforms will shake out over time, it’s important that we remember that these reviews are a snapshot in time, and one only-child’s opinion.  

  • http://blog.fandura.com Elijah R. Young

    Same here Phil.  Thanks for reading!

    Elijah

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

     
    Great
    post  Elijah.

    You always are on the edge of thinking outside the box and very
    clever.

    Thanks! 

  • http://www.internetincomecode.com George Tee

    Great post elijah. One way to encourage your customers to visit your website is to virtual speaking. It is not easy to speak with many people unless you have the talent. Spreaker is one way to enhance that speaking skills. I like the virtual DJ interface and the recording the live sessions that automatically post on facebook. It focuses on radio thought it was for marketers. 

  • https://plus.google.com/+AnaHoffman/ Ana Hoffman

    Thanks for this review, Elijah. I mainly do YouTube video recordings as that serves my purposes better. 

  • The Savvy Seller

    We’ve used Talkshoe (www.talkshoe.com) with some level of success. Its advantage over BlogTalkRadio is that if you have an hour show for example, you can run long without being cut off. This has been an issue with BTR. LIke BTR, Talkshoe is free and even easier to use.

    Marlene

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Thanks for the feedback and additional resource, Marlene. We should stick to timelines, but on the occasion you run a minute or two long, that is nice to know! :)

  • Malia Holleron

    Thanks for the insight Elijah. This came just in time! It’s been on my mind to do a talk radio show for women entrepreneurs and have been leaning heavily towards blogtalkradio. Your insight has definitely helped me make a decision. 

  • Debbie Unterman

    I was just interviewed on BTR this week and began investigating it. This was timely. Could anyone comment on the level that’s best to get into BTR at?  I’m not ready to commit to a monthly bill.  Is there a downside to signing up for the free package other than not being able to have callers and the commercial interruptions?  Well, I guess I’m answering my own question as I realize that you can’t archive it either.  That would be a waste I guess. Perhaps it works for “practicing”.  Is there any roundabout way to archive it yourself?

  • scottytreid

    Just from saying it will automactically post to your Facebook page shows you did not know how to use Spreaker and unfamiliar with all its capabilities. It is easy as not connecting your facebook acct to spreaker or unchecking the box when you do a broadcast.  You obviously do not know the finer points or technical apects of the two platforms or you would have written about the difference in the audio quality. Spreaker broadcasts at 128kbs, Blog Talk Radio at 32kbs, that is like listening to a cd and listening to am radio. Spreaker, unlike Blog Talk Radio, give you the ability to broadcast live through media players right on Facebook. Blog Talk advertises that you can broadcast on any website if you purchase the very most expensive host package, which isn’t true because you can do it with a free account if you know what you are doing. You also failed to mention the pricing, Spreaker is $20 per month, (free month for every 5 friends you recruit as listeners or hosts), you can broadcast up to 3 hours per session and then do another 3 hours, and another 3 hours, Blog Talk, depends on your premium package and then you can only broadcast twice a day. Spreaker gives you the  ability to schedule a show when you want to with no time limitations like Blog Talk has, no need to make to put in a date and time, on Spreaker you just broadcast. I could go on and on pointing out why Spreaker, a new platform that has not rolled out all its features yet, is the far superior platform.

  • TK

    Go on Scotty…. I’m listening. 

  • http://twitter.com/marilynsrylblog Marilyn Braun

    Hi,

    I have a show on BlogTalkRadio and I really like it. However, it’s expensive so I’m looking for an less costly alternative without sacrificing the features. Spreaker seems to be the closest I’ve seen to BTR. Talkshoe is one option however it’s not nearly as easy to use as BTR when it comes to adding effects to live shows.

    BTR used to be free but late last year they changed their system, setting up different types of accounts. So now there’s basic, premium, plus and pro. I am signed up to Premium because there are features that I need that I can no longer get in basic.

    For instance, I am limited to the time I’m allowed to do the show – 30 minutes. Not necessarily an issue but if I run over or do a more involved show, I want to know that I can do it without worrying.

    Then there’s audio files. In basic you’re only allowed 4. I use more than that during my episodes so that’s a big issue for me.

    In basic you’re limited to the time you can do the show. There’s ‘prime time’ and if you’re not premium then you can’t schedule a show during that time. My show was always on at 9:00PM. If I’d stayed with basic then I would have to change the time of the show and that is much less convenient for me.

    No matter which account you have, all episodes are archived. There’s no worries with that.

    I wasn’t going to sign up for premium, except that to continue my show without changing it I didn’t have a lot of choice if I wanted to remain with BTR. At the time BTR had a special offer of $29/m vs the regular $39/m. So I took advantage of that. This offer is only for a year so after that the cost will go to $39/m. As much as I enjoy my show I really can’t justify that, which is why I’m looking for a new home. Spreaker seems to be a very good option.

    BTR is wonderful but depending on what your needs are it can be expensive. Thank you very much for the informative post about Spreaker. There isn’t a lot of information on their site so it’s nice to actually get some useful information.

    Marilyn

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  • http://www.vitruvianway.com Kristie McDonald

    Scotty’s comment was very helpful. I am really interested in hearing more about which recording tools are beneficial for our smaller clients that want to give podcasting a try but don’t have a large budget. Or alot of time to learn the tool – we want to avoid that hurdle to entry.

  • http://www.vitruvianway.com Kristie McDonald

    Scotty’s comment was very helpful. I am really interested in hearing more about which recording tools are beneficial for our smaller clients that want to give podcasting a try but don’t have a large budget. Or alot of time to learn the tool – we want to avoid that hurdle to entry.

  • Lady V

    My boyfriend and his buddy have a show on Spreaker. The biggest issue he experiences is the show gets dropped right in the middle of his broadcast. His friend’s show goes from 8p-10p and my boyfriend’s show is from 10p-12am, they broadcast 7 days per week. The early portion of their show never experiences this problem. It only happens during my boyfriends show. Calls have been made to Spreaker and it seems to have gotten worse. I have sat with him and watched him make his playlists, check his stats, etc and it looks like a very easy app that even i could use. He has checked with his cable company and The Geek Squad and they both say it is not an issue on their end. As of today Spreaker is checking on the problem. I wonder if any of the other shows on Spreaker have the same issue.

  • ChrisTop

    I LOVE Spreaker and I use it every day. Wonderful platform and I honestly could not wish for anything better. Check out my show if you want an example of how professional a talk show can sound. 
    http://www.spreaker.com/page#!/show/the_chris_top_program

  • http://twitter.com/jamestownsend69 James Townsend

    I use it and in my last show it stopped halfway through a song, weird!

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.caruk Matthew Caruk

    So, with the free version commercials are inserted. I would assume that with the premium package those commercials are not mandatory? Can anyone comment on this?

  • Ron Sherard

    Matthew,
    The free version gives you 30 minutes of airtime. The commercials are put in before the show begins. As you move up into the paid packages, you’re given more minutes of airtime, and more storage space. Spreaker says you need to insert a commercial break once every 30 minutes. The interface is very easy to use. You have a running timer of your show, so when you get close to the 30min mark, you can just press the commercial button, it then shows you off air, and a 30sec counter shows the time left in the break. After the break is over, it shows you back on the air. You also don’t have to hit the break at the 30 min mark, but if you run over, it will automatically go to break at 31minutes into the show

  • Brodie Goozee

    I get where you are coming from Elijah an to be honest 99.9% of the content currently out there is rubbish to the level that there are 100’s of ‘stations’ that are visible but haven’t done anything. Much of the rest is breaking copyright law re music so it is off to a bad start. BUT YouTube was rubbish to start with and is now a serious player in the marketing space. I think there is a market for Spreaker in particular for radio for like minded folk. This might be as simple as the Pigeon Racing Hour but with good interviews, reports from events etc this has great possibilities and well worth exploring. Monetizing it might be another matter however. I think it is more audio blog than radio with a simple mixing desk to bring together a playlist of interviews with some fun audio links and EFX. If we take a Pigeon Club idea and everyone who listened paid, what, $10 a year for the ‘station’ to go to air well it would be a half reasonable stipend for a retired person with a long history in flying pigeons.

    Give it a chance, I think we could have some very interesting potential shows dedicated to unique content that had nothing to do with music at all.

    If I was RedBull, would there be a reason to have RedBull Radio that talks about all their sponsorship activities with interviews about the people who do all their mad stuff? Probably. Like you, just one opinion, for what it is worth.

  • Kev

    Me too.

  • http://www.penny-watcher.com Paul Peacock

    I use spreaker to run my Penny Watcher Show. It has been a hard slog, and I have changed providers so many times, gone away from Spreaker and come back. The reasons for coming back are the quality is good, and I have an audience there, but it doesn’t do all I want. I would love to be able to stack up one show after another and schedule them to be broadcast like voscast does, so I always have something live on my station page, but I can’t do that.
    I tried Blog Talk Radio, and found the output to be poor.

  • Isa Dont Matter

    We mustn’t forget Talkshoe. They are totally free. I think the only thing that costs is if you want to be on their featured shows section. I really don’t know how they can offer so much for totally free.

    1. Telephone call-in number
    2. Multiple show hosts/listeners can talk simultaneously
    3. Record/upload shows
    4. Email list to notify people of show
    5. Show download analytics
    6. Text chat room with mute/unmute both text and audio
    7. Audio isn’t too bad when you use a free SIP client like XLite call in via VoIP
    8. No time limit cutoff and no maximum archive size limit
    9. Player widget to embed on your own web page









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