One effective and popular way to monetize a podcast is through listener donations and subscriptions. There are a ton of monetization platforms like Patreon, KoFi, Buy Me a Coffee, and Supporting Cast that help creators monetize their content. With so many choices, how do you make your choice?
In this article, we compare the platforms, so that podcasters can make an informed decision on which system to use. We’ll put the pricing plans, best functionality, podcast-suitability, membership building, and subscriber plans customizability & limits side by side. We also compare them to Firstory’s monetization solution.
Pricing plans to use the service
All of the platforms, except Supporting Cast, are free to use. With a free account, you get the basic features of receiving support and donations from your listeners. Upgrading to paid tiers on Firstory, Patreon, and Ko-Fi can also get you more stuff.
Firstory Pro and Enterprise users can enjoy lower platform commission fees, faster customer service support, more podcast promotion tools, more customization options, and more podcast analytics on the hosting side.
Patreon Pro subscription comes in the form of a higher platform commission fee (from 5% to 8%). This unlocks analytics and the ability to create membership tiers.
Ko-Fi Gold subscribers can make high resolution downloads, customize pricings for donations, shorten usernames, and integrate Google Analytics for $6 per month.
Supporting Cast, on the other hand, isn’t open for everyone to use; and creators have to “Request for a Demo” in order to gain more information on pricing, usage, and terms for joining the platform.
Suitability for monetizing podcasts
Patreon, Ko-Fi, and Buy Me a Coffee are all general monetization platforms for all types of creators. Because of this, they don’t have any podcast-specific features that complement the interaction between listeners and podcast creators.
Firstory and Supporting Cast both have podcaster creators’ welfare in mind, with Firstory focusing on overall podcaster support over Supporting Cast.
Firstory is an all-in-one podcast hosting platform with monetization solutions. This means that podcasts hosted on Firstory can enjoy monetization solutions, unlimited storage & bandwidth, distribution to major platforms, podcast promotion tools, audience engagement tools, free podcast website, and analytics for free. Monetization solutions include donations & tips, as well as monthly recurring subscriptions. Podcasters can generate membership and email lists too!
Supporting Cast, although supportive of podcasters with their podcast platform support for listeners, isn’t as robust in terms of podcaster support. Though this makes it easier for podcasters to get onboard without having to move everything over, it can become a clutter in the long run to have multiple platforms for everything.
Podcast memberships and customizability
All platforms allows you to set up membership tiers for supporters to choose recurring subscriptions from. Of the platforms we’ve analyzed, only Firstory, Ko-Fi, and Buy Me a Coffee allow supporters to drop in tips & donations, if they don’t wish to subscribe monthly.
Podcast creators are able to customize the amount or price of each tier, except in Ko-Fi where you have to be a Ko-Fi Gold subscriber.
Barriers for listeners to support your podcast
Patreon and Ko-Fi both require listeners to create an account before they can support your show. This may ultimately become a huge problem for listeners who do not wish to sign up or remember so many passwords and information.
Firstory, Buy Me a Coffee, and Supporting Cast do not have a sign up wall, and listeners can enjoy the convenience of one-click-to-pay.
Patreon, Ko-Fi, and Buy Me a Coffee are all classic monetization solutions for creators in general. Patreon was one of the pioneers of subscriptions and membership tier support, so most supporters might be most familiar with this interface.
Ko-Fi and Buy Me a Coffee are extremely similar, with Ko-Fi having more features and lower fees in the long run (assuming you get a lot of supporters and upgrade to Ko-Fi Gold). However, Buy Me a Coffee is much easier to use for both creators and supporters; with the low barrier to support being a huge plus for most users.
Podcasters looking for easy mobilization from one platform to another may find Supporting Cast a suitable pick; but they aren’t open for everyone, and you have to “Request for a Demo” first to use their services. Firstory is the perfect all-in-one solution for podcasters wishing to declutter the amount of accounts, passwords, and platforms to maintain.