Podcasts and other forms of audio streaming are becoming very popular among consumers. At this point, more than half of all people in the U.S. have listened to podcasts. Moreover, one-third of these listeners stream podcasts at least monthly.
Audio streaming is a format for the modern world. As you likely know, it’s an ideal way to access information for people on-the-go. Whether you’re commuting, washing dishes, or doing anything else, podcasts and online radio can entertain and inform you.
In this post, we will explore the topic of audio streaming. We’ll cover what you need to know about building a music and audio streaming platform of your own. Specifically, we will take a look at two types of audio streaming, where to host your stream, monetization, how to host a high-quality audio stream, and more.
Table of Contents
- On-Demand vs. Live Audio Streaming
- Where to Host Your Audio Steam
- How to Monetize Your Audio Streaming
- How to Create an Audio Streaming Website
- High-Quality Audio Streaming
- Analytics for Podcasts
To that end, this article reviews key topics you might overlook if you’re new to the game.
Let’s get started!
On-Demand vs. Live Audio Streaming
There are two main types of online audio streaming: on-demand and live
On-demand is podcast-style audio. Listeners can play an episode at any time. Content is always available in an archive, stored in your video content management system.
The second common type is live audio streaming, which is like internet radio. Businesses may use live audio streaming for a single event or broadcast, after which they can make the recording available on-demand.
Alternatively, you might choose to do 24/7 audio broadcasting in the style of linear streaming. This is the case for online radio.
Both approaches are valuable in their own way, and many broadcasters might choose to use both approaches if it is appropriate for the context.
Where to Upload and Host Your Audio Steam
With the rising popularity of online broadcasting, countless businesses in diverse sectors are getting involved in audio streaming. These include education and entertainment, comedy, sports, music, news, business, religion, and beyond
Despite their different industries, these businesses all face similar technical challenges when it comes to podcasting. Most notably, the question of where to host your audio files for streaming is an important one. Most audio streamers choose to use streaming media hosting platforms.
With the differentiation between live and on-demand streaming in mind, let’s consider the benefits of dedicated streaming solutions. Your streaming solution, which is also known as an online video platform, is where you can host your audio content.
One major advantage of an online video platform like Dacast is native support for live streaming audio. Most podcast hosting services center around hosting and delivering pre-recorded content. They don’t support live broadcasts at all.
In contrast, platforms like Dacast provide functionality and power for live streaming. Both scheduled events or 24/7 broadcasting are supported. And since the content lives in your video CMS and is distributed via a powerful live-streaming CDN (Content Delivery Network), you can scale to large, globally distributed audiences without buffering or lag problems.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many podcast hosting services offer only limited storage. Often, they offer less than 1 GB per month—and sometimes just 100 MB or even less. In comparison, Dacast offers 50 GB of storage for just $39 per month with our Starter plan. That’s enough storage for hundreds of podcasts encoded at very high quality.
Therefore, if you’re streaming a lot of audio, or streaming super high-quality files, Dacast may be the best choice. Dacast also offers the ability to purchase extra storage if needed and allows for automatic overage protection if your podcast goes viral.
How to Monetize Your Audio Streaming
As podcasts become more popular, revenue from this type of streaming is booming. From 2017 to 2018, revenues grew by 53%.
In the world of podcasting and online radio, there are two main ways to monetize: advertising and subscriptions. Additionally, broadcasters can opt to use pay-per-view, but this isn’t as common.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the three options.
Advertising is the most popular way to monetize audio streams. Podcast advertising revenue is expected to hit $1 billion by 2021.
There are various ways to add advertisements to your podcast. The simplest is to form a direct relationship with your advertiser, then read the ad during your show. However, it’s also possible to insert ads from advertising networks.
For example, Dacast includes support for ad insertion using popular advertising networks. This is very easy to do: just copy an ad URL from your ad serving provider, then paste it into the Dacast backend.
Alternatively, you can charge a recurring subscription fee for access to your show. This can be done via a secure paywall.
Dacast streaming solution includes a built-in paywall with various configuration options. It supports credit cards and PayPal, as well as multiple currencies. This provides podcasters with the ability to quickly launch and monetize premium audio streaming.
Using pay-per-view is another common way of monetizing your audio streams. A paywall can charge for access per-episode or for access to a series of entire shows.
Again, this is not very popular and it is likely less effective than ad-based monetization.
How to Create an Audio Streaming Website
Podcast and radio hosts like Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and the like are great options for beginners with low budgets, but embedding and hosting your audio streams directly on your website is the way to go.
It gives you total ownership of your content and eliminates any rules or community guidelines that could hold you back from creating the audio streams that you want.
To create an audio streaming website, all you really need to do is host a website and then embed an audio player to it. Once you have your audio streaming website ready, embedding your audio stream is pretty easy, especially if you’re hosting audio streams with Dacast.
To get started creating an audio streaming website, you would:
- Build a website in a CMS such as WordPress or Webflow
- Host your website with a hosting provider
- Log in to your Dacast account
- Navigate to the audio file or streaming channel you want to embed
- Click publish settings, and copy the embed code
- Visit your website and use a code view to paste this code on your desired page
That’s all there is to it.
Also, most online radio stations embed a player at the top of their website. Alternatively, you can embed it on the websites of partners. This is simply another option when you’re hosting your audio stream professionally.
High-Quality Audio Streaming
Audio streams at Dacast are encoded using the high-quality AAC codec and delivered via HLS streaming protocol. That means the stream can be accessed on any device. AAC also delivers excellent audio quality at a range of bitrates.
However, you may want to encode your audio files at different quality levels depending on what you are trying to achieve. Here are some basic recommendations:
- Low Quality (Smallest File Size): 32-64 kbps, mono, 44100 kHz
- High Quality (Medium File Size): 128-192 kbps, stereo, 44100 kHz
- Excellent Quality (Larger File Size): 256-320 kbps, stereo, 44100 kHz
For simple voice conversations, the first option may be fine. For music, you will want to go with option 2. If high quality is your number one consideration, choose option 3.
With Dacast, you can also stream audio in multiple bitrates, which means that listeners will automatically be served with the best possible quality given their internet speed. This helps prevent problems with buffering and lag. In short, if you want to live stream immersive, high-quality audio, Dacast is an excellent choice.
Analytics for Podcasts
Analytics refers to capturing data about your viewers. You can use this data to help increase the quality of your work going forward.
The most basic analytic data includes:
- Number of listeners
- Listener locations (country and city-level data)
- Average listening time
- Most popular shows
- Most popular device types
- Revenue data, broken down by time, device, and location
Dacast also offers innovative real-time analytics. This means that audio live streamers can get real-time information about audiences as they broadcast, which is pretty valuable.
Audio streaming is growing more and more popular for good reason. It’s a great way to get your content out there in a way that is easy and convenient to access. Thanks to streaming platforms like Dacast, it’s easy to start streaming today.
If Dacast sounds like an audio streaming platform you’d like to try, you can sign up for our 30-day free trial (no credit card required) below. That way, you can test out all of our great features before making a commitment, and we can answer any questions you may have during the process.