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Pinecast Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

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Pinecast Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

Pinecast offers its users what it calls ‘batteries-included podcast hosting’, meaning you get everything you need to jump-start your podcast: getting listed in the key apps, measuring your success, and growing your audience. Its interesting pricing structure that offers a base subscription and a choice of ‘add-ons’ means that podcasters can build out their own custom plan that fits their needs, without having to break the bank. If you’re considering moving over to Pinecast or have just started searching for a podcast host, you’re in the right place. This comprehensive guide and review of Pinecast will tell you everything you need to know about the platform and whether it’s right for you.

TL:DR 

  • Pinecast is a podcast host and management tool. 
  • You can start using Pinecast for $10/month, plus any add-ons that you choose. 
  • Given its pricing structure, Pinecast works best for podcasters who value flexibility over all else. 
  • Though you can’t start advertising, Pinecast does let you collect direct ‘tips’ from listeners and create premium content for your subscribers.

How we’re reviewing Pinecast 

Before we delve into Pinecast’s platform and features, it’s important to explain how we’re looking at it. We’ve come up with seven key factors that we think are tell-tale signs of a good podcast host: 

Pricing 

Pricing is always a big factor when it comes to any decision. We look at how much a platform charges its users, how it structures its pricing, and whether they’re really offering good value for money. 

Analytics 

The ability to track and monitor your podcast’s performance is absolutely critical. Your podcast host should give you in-depth stats of all aspects of your show and audience. It should be easy to access and leverage these podcast analytics, and users should not struggle to get the information they need. 

Media Player 

An embeddable media player is an absolute must. Podcasters should have the ability to share their podcast beyond the limits of the mainstream listening platforms. Although not totally necessary, it’s nice when users have the ability to customize their media player to match their branding. 

File Hosting 

On a more technical level, we look for podcast hosts that support lossless file formats so that podcasters don’t need to compromise on the audio quality of their content. Additionally, we are always looking for platforms that also support video files, since video podcasting is growing by the day. 

Distribution 

Your podcast host should take care of distributing your podcast for you. If there are too many complicated steps involved in publishing and distributing your podcast, this is a red flag.  

Monetization 

We look for podcast hosting services that offer podcaster’s a wide array of potential revenue streams that can be managed from within the platform. Ideally, we should be seeing podcast advertising, sponsorships, and donations, but a minimum of one of these options will suffice. 

Useability and Additional Features 

A podcast host should be intuitive and easy to use. Though it doesn’t need to be the slickest or flashiest interface, we believe clunky features or workflows are detrimental to the overall user experience. We’re also always on the hunt for platforms that go above and beyond by offering innovative features that proactively enhance the podcasting experience. 

Pinecast: Quick Takeaways 

Quick summary: Pinecast is a podcast host and growth management tool. It has a sleek and modern interface that is super easy to use and an impressive number of features that help you get the most out engagement possible out of your content. 

Price: Pinecast starts at $13/month

Pinecast USPs:

  • Add-ons. Customize your Pinecast subscription with specific add-ons that give you additional features and capabilities. 
  • Tip jar. Collect monetary donations directly from your biggest fans. They can choose to give you a one-time tip or donate on a recurring basis. 
  • In-depth analytics. Pinecast offers a huge range of ‘analytical views’ so that you can assess your podcast’s performance from all angles. 

What is Pinecast? 

Pinecast offers podcasters what it calls a ‘batteries-included’ service. What it means by that is you get access to everything they think you’ll need to publish and manage your podcast. 

How much does Pinecast cost? 

Pinecast has two pricing tiers that can be supplemented with their add-ons: 

Free plan

  • No time limit 
  • 48 MB files 
  • Tip jar for monetization 
  • Two podcasts for free
  • Basic show analytics 
  • Up to ten episodes 

Starter Plan - $10/month 

  • Unlimited episodes
  • Embeddable media player 
  • Shareable links 
  • Increased file sizes
  • Unlimited shows 
  • Podcast website 
  • Use custom domains 
  • Premium analytics
  • Private paid episodes 

Pinecast Add-ons

In addition to the standard subscription plans, Pinecast offers optional add-ons. You can add them to your plan when and if you need them, and then remove as soon as you no longer do. 

  • Pro Analytics Add-on - $10/month. Get extra in-depth insights about your listeners and subscribers with geographical data, growth analysis, sparklines and more. 
  • Crew add-on - $10/month.  Create a show network and add collaborators with different permissions. 
  • Growth add-on - $10/month. Extra ability to customize your tip jar, gather reviews from your various directories and ask your audience for feedback. 
  • Hi-fi add-on - $15/month. Upload bigger audio files (up to 256MB, as well as 256MB every thirty days) and enjoy a faster rate of RSS feed updates. 

Advantages of Pinecast 

Flat rates customizable with add-ons 

Pinecast’s two pricing tiers offer affordable podcast hosting with a robust set of features. A huge bonus is just how affordable Pinecast’s Starter plan is. At only $10 per month, podcasters can enjoy unlimited shows and episodes. 

Plus, the flexibility offered by their varied add-ons means you can build a subscription that suits you (with the power to add or remove certain tools when you need to). 

Easy distribution 

Distribute easily to the biggest platforms without even thinking about it. 

Simple interface 

Pinecast’s interface is delightfully easy to use, which is always a plus. No steep learning curves or clunky features here. 

Subscribers & Tips 

Although some podcasters may be disappointed by the lack of podcast advertising features, the ability to accept tips directly from listeners and create premium content for paying subscribers is definitely a major plus. 

Embeddable player 

Pinecast offers users an embeddable media player that is customizable by theme and means podcasters can share their content wherever they see fit. 

Podcast website 

Pinecast offers its Starter plan subscribers a simple and clean podcast website that is automatically updated with your latest content. You’re also able to customize your domain name (or transfer an existing one over). 

Analytics 

Pinecast prides itself on the number of ‘analytic views’ it offers its users - 19 for podcasts, 13 for episodes, and 16 for podcast networks. According to the platform, this is something that you won’t be able to find with most other competitive hosts. 

Disadvantages of Pinecast 

No advertising 

Although the Tip Jar does provide a strong revenue stream (if your audience is set up for it), podcasters who are looking for advertising opportunities may be left disappointed. 

File size limit 

Even on the Starter plan, you’re limited to 80MB per episode. This cap could be frustrating for podcasters who tend to produce bigger recordings. 

Note, however, that if you’re a paying Pinecast user, you’ll get access to what they call ‘upload surge’ which lets you upload files that exceed your plan’s size limit within your show’s 30-day limit. Your surge will reset every month. 

No creation functions 

Though this isn’t a concern for all podcasters, some creators like to use an ‘all-in-one’ solution that allows them to create, publish, and manage their podcast from one dashboard. If you’re looking for this kind of consolidated solution, Pinecast may not fit the bill. 

No video podcasts

Additionally, podcasters who are already creating video content or are looking to branch out into video podcasting may be frustrated by Pinecast’s audio-centric compatibility. 

Key features of Pinecast

Short Links 

Shortlinks are a great way to share your podcast on social media, making it easier to promote your content and generate engagement amongst your listeners. They link users directly to their preferred podcast app and encourage them to subscribe. The best bit? Shortlinks are integrated with Pinecast’s analytics, meaning you can extract valuable data around how effective your social media sharing and marketing is really going. 

Podcast website 

Every Pinecast podcast automatically gets an SEO-optimized site that is updated every time you share a new episode. You can choose the colors, theme, font, layout, and add custom pages to really make your site your own. 

Tip Jar 

Pinecast’s main revenue stream creator is its ‘tip jar’, which essentially operates like Patreon and allows your listeners to make a one-off or recurring donation. More on this later. 

Auto-includes for show notes 

Pinecast’s ‘auto-includes’ tool automatically populates your show notes with relevant links and information. You can toggle exactly what you want to auto-include: 

Pinecast Podcast show notes

Embeddable Media Player 

On any paid Pinecast plan, you’ll get access to their embeddable media player. You can choose from three themes so that the appearance suits your branding. Note that the theme you choose will impact the size of the player, as well as the colors. You can’t directly change the colors or dimensions, unfortunately. 

Pinecast is best for podcasters who like flexibility 

Pinecast’s affordable plans and powerful features would most likely satisfy most podcasters on the hunt for a new podcast host. Perhaps the biggest USP that Pinecast offers, however, is the flexibility to build out your own subscription to align with your specific needs. Pinecast’s add-ons mean that you can dynamically benefit from a certain type of feature without having to invest in levelling-up your subscription. That being said, the inability to manage your podcast advertising, and the fact that each add-on costs another $10 per month could be limiting for certain users. 

First look at Pinecast 

When you first sign up to Pinecast, you’ll land in your dashboard which will invite you to start your first podcast. 

Pinecast Podcast Host dashboard

Once you’ve followed the instructions below and either created your show or imported an existing podcast, this is what your dashboard will look like: 

Creating a podcast on Pinecast Podcast Host

As you can see, the homepage gives you an overview of your podcast and any episodes that are live. On the left, you can navigate to the Analytics, Episode, or Distribution tabs. As well as manage any listener feedback that you’ve received and your tip jar. 

How to Get Started with Pinecast

How to add a show on Pinecast 

Step 1: Click on ‘Set up a podcast’ 

Setting up a podcast on Pinecast Podcast Host

Step 2: Then click on ‘Start from Scratch’ 

Adding a podcast from scratch on Pinecast Podcast Host

Step 3: Then fill out your podcast’s details including its title, description, your desired podcast slug, whether it’s episodic or serial, and what language it’s in. Don’t forget to upload your cover artwork too. 

Filling in podcast details on Pinecast Hosting platform

Step 4: When you’re happy, click ‘save and continue’. When you’ve done this, you’ll wind up back at your podcast dashboard ready to add a new episode and manage your settings. 

How to add an episode on Pinecast 

Step 1: From your dashboard, click ‘New Episode’

Adding a new episode on Pinecast

Step 2: Fill out your episode’s title,  subtitle, upload your audio file, paste in your show notes, and schedule its publication. 

Step 3: Once you’ve done that, click ‘Save episode’

Step 4: Your new episode will appear in your episode overview tab in your dashboard. 

Episode overview on Pinecast Hosting platform

How to Migrate your Podcast to Pinecast

If you’re wondering how to move a podcast to Pinecast, it’s easy. All of Pinecast’s paid plans include its podcast import tool. You can access this feature by heading to ‘Add a New Podcast’ and clicking ‘Import from Elsewhere’. Note that this is only available on a paid plan. 

Importing a podcast to Pinecast Hosting Platform

All you need to do is paste in your podcast’s RSS feed and Pinecast will take care of the rest. 

How to Distribute your Podcast using Pinecast  

From your Pinecast dashboard, head to the distribution tab and you’ll find detailed instructions on how to distribute to most mainstream listening platforms. 

Distributing a Podcast from Pinecast

A great feature that Pinecast offers is that it automatically scans websites’ terms of use and will flag to you if there’s any third party ads or a release of rights to your content or brand involved. 

How to Monetize Your Podcast using Pinecast  

Pinecast lets you monetize your podcast content using its Tip Jar feature which enables you to accept one-time or recurring tips (monetary contributions) from your listeners. 

In order to do this, you must make sure to set up a payout account which you can do from your podcast dashboard in the tips tab. 

As soon as you’ve set up your account you can start accepting tips. The link will be available from your dashboard so you can include it where you want and there will be an auto-include option for whenever you add new episodes. Pinecast lets you customize your messaging so that you can add a message to thank your generous listeners. 

Note that since payments are processed through Stripe, there is a small percentage fee for every transaction. In addition, if you’re on a free Pinecast account there’s a 30% 

You can also create exclusive content for your paying subscribers. You can do this either by marking a new episode as ‘private’ (or if you’ve bought the Growth add-on, private until a set date). 

Recurring tippers (or subscribers) will gain access to a dedicated portal through which they’ll be able to access their premium content. They’ll also have the abiltiy to add their unique feed to their preferred listening platform of choice. 

Pinecast Podcast Analytics

Pinecast analytics are IAB compliant stats that give you an easy to understand and in-depth overview of how your podcast is actually performingEvery type of stat is accompanies by an explanation of what you’re actually looking at and how to understand and leverage that data. Depending on your subscription, you’ll be able to see different levels of detail about your podcast.

  • Listen history - total listens and total listens by source 
  • Number of subscriptions 
  • Listens by app
  • CSV export 
  • Rate of growth 
  • Geographic locations of listeners 
  • Shortlink click through breakdown 
  • Listener growth 
  • Top episodes 

Pinecast Alternatives 

Pinecast vs Fireside.fm 

Pinecast and Fireside.fm structure their pricing differently. Though Pinecast costs a minimum of $10 per month (plus $10 for each add-on), Fireside.fm starts at $9/month. Both Fireside.fm and Pinecast’s starter plans offer relatively similar features and therefore value for money. 

Though Pinecast’s add-ons give podcasters the freedom to build out their own subscription, some podcasters may find that this is inefficient in terms of value for money. If this is the case, Fireside.fm’s Standard or Professional plans may make the most sense. 

However, if you’re looking to manage more than one show from your account, Pinecast is the obvious choice since Fireside charges you per show. 

Neither platform really offer well-rounded monetization tools, although Pinecast’s Tip Jar is a unique feature that might appeal to some creators. 

Pinecast vs Blubrry 

Though both Pinecast and Blubrry are podcast hosts, they actually offer quite distinct services. They’re both available for $10/month, although as we’ve seen, Pinecast offers more scope for customizing your plan with their add-ons. 

Another big difference is that Blubrry has monthly storage caps (unless you pay $100/month), whereas Pinecast doesn’t. 

Since neither platform offers users substantial monetization features, the biggest factor that might impact your decision is whether you are a Wordpress user. If you’re an existing WordPress user, Blubrry’s powerful podcast-focussed plugin makes the choice obvious. 

Pinecast vs Podbean

Pinecast and Podbean are also completely different services. Podbean markets itself as a one-stop shop for podcasting because you can take your podcast from creation to publication all through the platform. Pinecast, meanwhile, is focussed on the management and hosting side of things. If you’re on the hunt for an all-in-one solution, Podbean makes sense. 

Additionally, since Podbean’s monetization features are more wide-ranging (including PodAds and an Ads Marketplace), even if you’re not looking for creation functionality, you may still want to consider Podbean. 

Final thoughts on Pinecast 

If you’re looking for an affordable and flexible podcast host that can grow with you, Pinecast is definitely a good choice. The ability to start out for free means that you can test the waters before committing fully. Even then, if you’re not able to extend your budget very far, or don’t necessarily need a full range of features, Pinecast’s Starter Plan is only $10 per month. Once your needs change or you’re in need of additional features, you can supplement your plan with different add-ons.  Plus, although Pinecast doesn’t offer advertising (which will, understandly, disappoint some podcasters), the tip-jar is a great low-key way to start monetizing your podcast and leverage your existing audience. All-in-all, Pinecast is a great option if you’re on the hunt for your next podcast host. ,

FAQs about Pinecast 

What is Pinecast? 

Pinecast is a podcast host and management tool that offers podcasters the ability to distribute to major streaming platforms easily, receive direct donations from their listeners, and scale their show. Pinecast is free to use, with additional features and unlimited hosting available for only $10/month. 

Is Pinecast podcast host good? 

It depends what you are looking for. Pinecast is definitely a strong contender, and its diverse range of features mean that it will provide most podcasters with a good base to get started. Additionally, the ability to choose ‘add-ons’ to bulk out the Starter plan mean that you can really create your own subscription to suit your needs. However, the inability to manage podcast advertising directly may put off podcasters who are looking to scale their revenue streams. 

How to delete a podcast from Pinecast 

Step 1: On your dashboard, click on the podcast that you want to delete. 

Step 2:  Head to ‘settings’ on the episode overview page. 

Podcast settings on Pinecast

Step 3: Click on ‘Delete Podcast’

Deleting a podcast on Pinecast

Step 4: Tick the ‘Are you sure you want to do this’ box and then hit ‘Delete’ 

Deleting a podcast on Pinecast

Want to read more on podcast hosting platforms? Check out our other reviews:

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