Blog Podcast Monetization Patreon Alternatives – Best Podcast Subscription Platforms (is Apple Podcast Subscriptions the Best?)

Patreon Alternatives – Best Podcast Subscription Platforms (is Apple Podcast Subscriptions the Best?)

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Monthly subscriptions and one-off payments are a great way for podcasters to make money, but how do you do it?

Patreon isn’t the only choice on the market, but what alternatives are available for podcasters?

Let’s start with the first question. To offer subscriptions and one-off payments, all you need is a podcast, perks and benefits, additional content, and a platform where you can manage it all.

To answer the second question, there are many different podcast subscription platforms out there (including Captivate Memberships and Tips), but which is the best one for you? Continue reading to find out the answer.

What are podcast subscription platforms?

Podcasters can monetize their shows through subscription platforms by offering perks and premium content in exchange for a monthly fee, such as bonus episodes, merchandise (stickers, pens etc), and listener shoutouts, amongst other things.

Many podcast subscription platforms are available today, each with unique offerings and features, including Captivate Memberships and Tips. How do we compare to the alternatives? Carry on reading to find out!

What are the best Patreon alternatives or podcast subscriptions platforms?

This all depends on the needs of the podcaster. What are you hoping to achieve? What are your end goals?

It also depends on what support and features you need from the platform, and of course how much it’s going to cost you. Some platforms allow one-off donations, whereas others only allow monthly subscriptions. Whilst they all have different pricing plans, most of them will charge transaction and payment processing fees. Of course, all platforms have different features, and if you find a platform that doesn’t meet all your requirements, chances are there will be a workaround with an integration of some sort.

This article will compare Captivate Memberships and Tips, with other alternatives on the market, so you can decide which is the best one for you. If you already host your podcast (or thinking of migrating over to us), then it’s a no-brainer to use us for your monthly subscriptions and one-off donations, as everything is then managed in one place. One less headache for you!

Is Apple Podcasts Subscriptions the best?

While Apple’s subscription platform is popular and well-known in the industry, this doesn’t mean that it’s the best. Like any platform, it has its pros and cons.

For instance, podcasters can make money directly from the platform and have access to great stats and analytics. However, Apple takes 30% of your earnings in your first year, which drops to 15%, in comparison Captivate only takes 12%.

Additionally, podcasters who use Apple’s platform are limited to that platform, which isn’t ideal for listeners who access podcasts from other platforms e.g. Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts etc.

Subscriptions & one-off tips with Captivate

Captivate Memberships & Tips, part of the Captivate Creator Suite, enable podcasters to monetize their podcast through their listeners and loyal fans, with monthly subscriptions and one-off donations.

Memberships support page where listeners can subscribe on a paid monthly basis.
Captivate Memberships
Tips support page where listeners can subscribe on a paid monthly basis.
Captivate Tips

Captivate offers one of the most competitive pricing plans on the market for this type of monetization:

  • Subscriptions: 12% (plus 2.9% Stripe fees) and $0.30 per transaction.
  • Tipping: 5% (plus 2.9% Stripe fees) and $0.30 per transaction.

This is in line with other membership and tipping platforms available, which represents great value for serious creators!

Main benefits:

  • Podcasters have the flexibility to monetize their shows with one-off donations (Tips) and monthly subscriptions (Memberships).
  • Podcasters can have as many tiers as they wish in Memberships, and they’re fully customizable. You decide the price, titles, benefits, and add images and descriptions for each tier.
  • The welcome and thank you messages on the support page are fully customizable, you can also add links to YouTube videos.
  • Listeners can send you messages along with their one-off tips for potential inclusion in your podcast episodes.
  • Save money as you don’t need to pay for additional software such as Patreon or Buy Me A Coffee to manage subscriptions and one-off donations.
  • Save time as there is one tool to manage all aspects of your podcast including monetization, content management, data insights, research and planning, dynamic content insertion, marketing and promotion, team and network management, guest bookings, web player design and websites.
  • Funding (monetization) links and tags are added to your feed for listener apps that support Podcasting 2.0.
  • With one click you can easily give listeners access to exclusive, subscriber-only content, and early access ‘windowed’ episodes, and Captivate will automatically email subscribers. You can also have ‘timed exclusivity’ episodes eg episodes are available on your public RSS feed for a limited period, and then only available to paying members.
  • Offer free trials for Membership tiers to incentivize listeners to become paying members. The duration of the free trials is up to you!
  • Both Memberships and Tips are easy to promote with web player CTAs and AMIE (our dynamic content insertion tool).
  • Cross-promotion functionality options between one-off tips and monthly memberships.
  • Podcasters have access to feed privacy & fraud protection.
  • Get useful data and insights on your subscribers, one-off donations and overall earnings.

Already a customer? Log in and check this feature out. New to Captivate? Sign up for a free trial and get access to the full platform, including Memberships and Tips.

Alternative podcast subscription platforms (including a Patreon comparison)

It is always useful to compare other options out there on the market, with Captivate Memberships and Tips. You may be thinking, “how does Captivate stack up against the other options such as Patreon, Supercast etc?” Let’s find out!

  1. Patreon

First on the list is Patreon. Lots of different creators use Patreon to make money, and not just podcasters eg video artists, influencers, gamers, writers etc. With Patreon creators can offer paid subscriptions to exclusive content, and you can create different membership tiers, offer early access to episodes, and engage with your audience through a community feed.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Patreon:

Similarities

  • Both offer customizable subscription tiers.
  • Both offer podcasters a way to earn recurring income on a monthly and annual basis.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.
  • Both are easy to use and set up.
  • Both offer free trials to incentivize listeners to become paying members.

Differences

  • Patreon charges the same payment processing and withdrawal fees, however, the percentage they take from your earnings depends on the plan you choose. With the Lite package, they charge 5% but it is limited e.g. no membership tiers, limited analytics and insights, no priority customer support etc. Pro charges 8% but again there are limitations eg you can’t have Team accounts. Premium is 12% and this is where you have access to everything including a dedicated partner manager.
  • Patreon offers creators templates and themes to help them set up their membership pages. Captivate handles the UX and design of your membership pages, so that’s one less thing to worry about. You can focus on promotion!
  • Technically Patreon doesn’t offer an option for one-time donations and tips. There is a workaround e.g. a listener can sign up to a membership tier and then cancel, which isn’t ideal. With Captivate you can do both ongoing subscriptions and one-off donations.
  • Patreon currently doesn’t offer built-in promotion and marketing tools, however, Captivate offers easily shareable attribution links, clickable web player, dynamic content insertion (pre, mid and post-roll), cross-promotion across shows in a network etc.
  • Captivate Memberships and Tips are designed specifically for podcasters, whereas Patreon isn’t.
  • With Captivate’s integrated features, you can easily designate episodes as exclusive or early access for paying members with a simple click when uploading. Additionally, you can utilize Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature, making episodes temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  1. Supercast

Supercast is specifically designed for podcasters, allowing you to create premium subscription feeds and manage subscribers. It integrates with popular podcast hosting services, making it easy to offer exclusive content to your paying audience.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Supercast:

Similarities

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  • Both are specifically designed for podcasters.
  • Both offer podcasters a way to earn recurring income on a monthly and annual basis.
  • Both offer the ability for podcasters to receive one-off donations from listeners.
  • Both offer the ability to customize subscription plans.
  • Both are easy to use and set up.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.
  • Both offer free trials to incentivise listeners to become paying members.

Differences

  • Rather than taking a commission from earnings, Supercast charges you $0.59 per subscriber monthly, plus payment processing fees, on their ‘All-in’ plan. You have to get a quote for a ‘Custom’ plan, which is designed for networks and podcasters with large audiences. With the ‘Custom’ plan, you get everything that comes with ‘All-in’, but you also get multi-show support, multi-show bundle subscriptions and integrations with your website or membership system.
  • Podcasters can offer one-time access subscription plans, gift subscriptions, discounts and promotions with Supercast. With Captivate, you can set up a free subscription (“Membership”), which can be used as a trial. Our focus has always been to make managing a podcast as easy as possible, and that’s the same with subscriptions and one-off payments. Our focus isn’t on how many subscription options we offer, but on how to make workflows and processes more streamlined. Due to Captivate’s integrated nature, podcasters can set exclusivity and early-access to paying members at just a click of a button.
  • You have more data and insights with Captivate. Whilst both give you similar income and financial information and top-level stats listener numbers and episode downloads, you can go more granular with Captivate. You can compare episode performance over different periods, web player stats, attribution link clicks and more.
  • Use Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature when uploading episodes, and with a click of a button make them temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  1. Glow

Glow enables you to create subscription plans, accept payments, and deliver exclusive content to your subscribers. It integrates with various podcast hosting services and offers a simple-to-use interface.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Glow:

Similarities

  • Both are specifically designed for podcasters.
  • Both are easy to use and set up.
  • Both offer customizable monthly and annual subscriptions.
  • Both offer customizable one-time donations and tips.
  • Both offer secure, private podcast hosting, and both monitor any suspicious activity.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.
  • Both offer free trials to incentivise listeners to become paying members.

Differences

  • Similar to Supercast, Glow offers one-time subscription plans, and gift subscriptions. With Captivate, you can set up a free subscription (“Membership”), which can be used as a trial. Our focus has always been to make managing a podcast as easy as possible, and that’s the same with subscriptions and one-off payments. Our focus isn’t on how many subscription options we can offer, but on how to make workflows and processes more streamlined. Due to Captivate’s integrated nature, podcasters can set exclusivity and early-access to paying members at just a click of a button.
  • Glow has a different pricing model to Captivate. When you offer exclusive content to listeners they charge $0.55 per user per month plus card processing fees (which are the same as Captivate). If you would simply like to have the option for listeners to support your podcast, you pay card processing fees but they do not charge for supporters.
  • Use Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature when uploading episodes, and with a click of a button make them temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  1. Memberful

Memberful is a membership platform used by all types of creators, and not strictly podcasters. You can create paid subscription plans, manage subscribers, and offer exclusive content. It also integrates with popular podcast hosts and CMS platforms, such as WordPress.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Memberful:

Similarities

  • Both offer podcasters a way to make recurring income through monthly and annual subscriptions.
  • Both offer customizable subscription plans.
  • Both are easy to use and set up.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.
  • Both offer free trials to incentivise listeners to become paying members.

Differences

  • Memberful’s pricing plans differ from Captivate. They offer a free Start plan with a 10% transaction fee but you can only have 2 tiers and there are other restrictions eg no custom branding etc. The Pro plan is $25 per month with a 4.9% transaction fee and you get unlimited plans but still, some restrictions e.g. can’t remove Memberful branding. Premium is their highest tier and costs $100 with 4.9% transaction fee.
  • Captivate hosts the monthly subscriber plans and one-off donations, we also take care of payments, UX and design etc. Memberful lives on the podcaster’s website, and offers integrations with podcast hosts.
  • Memberful doesn’t offer one-off payments and donations.
  • Memberful offers gift subscriptions and referral programs. With Captivate, you can set up a free subscription (“Membership”), which can be used as a trial. Also, our focus has always been to make managing a podcast as easy as possible, and that’s the same with subscriptions and one-off payments. Our focus isn’t on how many subscription options we can offer, but on how to make workflows and processes more streamlined. Due to Captivate’s integrated nature, podcasters can set exclusivity and early-access to paying members at just a click of a button.
  • Memberful isn’t just for podcasters, whereas Captivate is specially designed for podcasters.
  • Captivate offers more in-depth stats on podcast performance.
  • Use Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature when uploading episodes, and with a click of a button make them temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  1. Substack

Although primarily known for newsletters, Substack also supports podcasting. You can create a paid subscription plan for your podcast, offering exclusive content or early access to your subscribers.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Substack:

Similarities

  • Both offer podcasters a way to make recurring income through monthly and annual subscriptions.
  • Both offer customizable subscription plans.
  • Both are easy to use and set up.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.
  • Both offer free trials to incentivise listeners to become paying members.

Differences

  • Pricing is different as Substack takes 10% fee from how much you make plus transaction fees eg 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
  • Substack is primarily known for and suited for monetizing newsletters, whereas Captivate Memberships and Tips are specially designed for podcasters.
  • Substack’s paid subscriptions start at $5 per month or $30 per year, whereas with Captivate this can start as little as $1.
  • Captivate offers both one-off donations and monthly subscriptions, whereas Substack only offers monthly.
  • With Captivate’s integrated features, you can easily designate episodes as exclusive or early access for paying members with a simple click when uploading. Additionally, you can utilize Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature, making episodes temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  1. Podia

Podia is an all-in-one platform for creators, including podcasters. You can sell memberships, courses, and digital downloads related to your podcast. It offers a range of features, such as customizable sales pages, email marketing, and analytics.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Podia:

Similarities

  • Both offer podcasters a way to make recurring income through monthly and annual subscriptions.
  • Both offer the flexibility to earn money through one-off payments.
  • Both offer customizable subscription plans & one-off donations.
  • Both are easy to use and set up.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.
  • Both offer free trials to incentivise listeners to become paying members.

Differences

  • You can’t change the price of a plan after it has been published with Podia, which isn’t the same for Captivate.
  • Podia is more geared up for podcasters to sell online courses and to support with email marketing, whereas with Captivate podcasters can offer subscribers early access ‘windowed’ content, plus exclusive, subscriber-only content. There’s also cross-promotion functionality and ‘ad-free’ options.
  • You can’t manually withdraw funds with Podia, podcasters have the option for a one-time or monthly payment plan. With Captivate, as soon as you hit the minimum threshold, you can withdraw funds.
  • Podia offers three payment plans. There is a Free plan, but you are charged 8% transaction fee plus payment processing fees 2.9% and $0.30, and you don’t have access to everything eg chat support, custom domain and other advanced features. The Mover plan doesn’t have the 8% transaction fee, but instead costs $39 per month, you will still be charged payment processing fees, and you get more features. For full access to all features, it’s $89 per month which is their Shaker plan, and again you’ll still be charged payment processing fees.
  • With Captivate’s integrated features, you can easily designate episodes as exclusive or early access for paying members with a simple click when uploading. Additionally, you can utilize Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature, making episodes temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  1. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout is a podcast hosting platform, which allows podcasters to earn recurring income via subscriptions and premium content.

Similarities and differences between Captivate and Buzzsprout:

Similarities

  • Both are specifically designed for podcasters.
  • Both are easy to set up and use.
  • Both allow podcasters to offer premium content for a monthly fee.
  • Both allow podcasters to make money via recurring monthly support.
  • Subscriptions are available on all paid plans, apart from Buzzsprout’s free plan, where the feature is not accessible.
  • Both offer analytic tools and statistics for your earnings.

Differences

  • Buzzsprout’s offer is a solid choice, but is more limited in functionality and opportunities for diversity in monetization options for the serious creator.
  • Captivate Memberships allow podcasters to offer loyal listeners and fans monthly subscription paid access to bonus content and perks via subscriptions. The tiers you set up in Memberships are fully customizable, add as many as you like, set prices and titles, tailor the different perks, enable automatic early or exclusive access to episodes, and have slot exclusivity for pre, mid and post-roll sponsorship advertisements and personalize messages for the welcome and thank you pages. Buzzsprout’s version of this is Recurring Support. With Recurring Support switched on, listeners can choose to donate predefined monthly amounts of $3, $4, $8 or $10 to support a show, you can select what message to show to listeners and add additional info which displays next to the payment form, where you can list additional perks subscribers get or a personal message of gratitude.
  • Captivate Memberships allow podcasters to offer premium and additional content, as well as early access to episodes for a monthly fee, and other perks of your choosing. Buzzsprout’s version of this is Premium Content. With this switched on listeners can pay a monthly fee for premium content such as bonus episodes or early access to regular episodes for predefined amounts of $3, $4, $8 or $10. With Captivate you decide how much to charge and podcasters can also decide the duration for early access episodes too.
  • Buzzsprout doesn’t currently offer podcasters an option to receive one-off tips from listeners. However, with Captivate Tips, podcasters can receive one-off payments from listeners, and then nurture the listeners to become monthly members. Listeners can also leave a message when giving a one-off tip, which you can use for additional content for your podcast.
  • With Buzzsprout, you can’t offer a free subscription option, with Captivate you can offer free Membership Tiers – which is great for hooking people in and nurturing them into a paying member.
  • With Captivate, the Membership and Tips pages are customizable, you can add whatever text you like to the welcome and thank you pages, as well as embed YouTube videos (which is great for a personalized thank you).
  • With Buzzsprout, once you have subscribers on your podcast, podcasters can’t disable the subscription, and have to contact support. Captivate Memberships and Tips can be switched on or off at any time, without contacting support.
  • With Buzzsprout you can’t have Recurring Support and Premium Content switched on at the same time. You have to choose one. With Captivate, podcasters can have both Memberships and Tips running at the same time.
  • Buzzsprout takes a 15% flat fee of your monthly revenue, which includes payment processing costs.
  • With Captivate’s integrated features, you can easily designate episodes as exclusive or early access for paying members with a simple click when uploading. Additionally, you can utilize Captivate’s timed exclusivity feature, making episodes temporarily available on the public RSS feed before transitioning to exclusive content for paying members.
  • With Captivate, podcasters can offer free trials to incentivise listeners to become paying members.

How to pick the right membership platform for your podcast

Well, this bit is down to you. We’ve done the hard work for you and researched what is out there, and compared the similarities and differences. Now you have all the information you need to help you pick the right subscription platform for you.

You also know what we offer with Captivate Memberships and Tips, and how we compare with the alternatives on the market. Take us for a test drive, sign up for a free trial (it’s super easy to migrate your podcast from another host), and see what you think – you won’t be disappointed. During the trial, you’ll get access to everything in the platform which includes our highly rated 24/7 human support team and Growth Labs, which is full of courses, workshops and resources from industry experts to help you to grow and monetize your podcast.

Are subscriptions the only way to make money from podcasting?

Monthly subscriptions and one-off donations are a great way to make money from your podcast, but it’s not the only way!

Check out our article about how to make money from podcasts, which includes actionable ideas you can start implementing right away. We talk about affiliate marketing, events, public speaking, product reviews and so much more.

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Takeaway

When choosing the best podcast subscription platform for you, make sure that you list out your goals and what you need from the platform, as this will make it easier to choose the right one for you.

With Captivate, you can manage all aspects of your podcast in one place eg planning, guest booking, dynamic ad insertion (AMIE), networks, distribution, analytics, subscriptions, one-off donations and much more.

Membership tiers are fully customizable, meaning you have complete flexibility, you decide how many tiers, prices and titles, plus what benefits are in each one. Also due to Captivate’s integrated nature, when publishing episodes, at a click of a button you can set them as exclusive member-only content or early ‘windowed’ content. You can also use our timed exclusivity feature to limit how long episodes are available to the public, before transitioning to member-only content.

This makes life for you, as a busy podcaster, much easier as it’s one platform to manage everything. Giving you more time to grow the podcast.

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