If you haven't heard of Anchor yet, it's an app that lets you record little bits of audio and broadcast them to your followers with minimal fuss. In a lot of ways, it's like Instagram or Snapchat stories, but focused purely on audio recordings -- you can find friends, publications, internet stars and so forth when you sign up on the app and then listen in to whatever they decide to broadcast. These segments can be as brief or as complex as the person recording them wants, but they'll disappear after one day.
Given the recent podcasting boom, it's not surprising that Anchor itself has been getting more attention over the last six months or so. In February, the company released a big update that added a "call-in" feature where your listeners could chat with you live, the ability to publish full-length Spotify or Apple Music tracks and the ability to record an interview over the phone and publish it straight to Anchor. But today's update marks perhaps the most significant change yet: Anchor users now will have the option to push their recordings out to the world as podcasts and have them live forever.
Anchor CEO Mike Mignano told us that this is one of the biggest requests that the company has had from its users. "Something we're seeing lacking in the [audio] industry in general is the ability to quickly and easily publish a podcast," he said. Anchor's latest update solves that by integrating directly with Apple's podcasting platform as well as Google Play. Users can just record audio and publish it to Anchor the way they always have -- but when they're done, they can now select segments, give the podcast a name and publish it immediately. The app even generates some podcast artwork for you so you can get going with minimal fuss, but naturally you can replace that with your own creation if you want.
Once you're set up, Anchor will automatically publish any audio you record to your podcast feed, but you can also be selective and only share specific segments. That's probably a good thing, because -- much like Snapchat -- you won't necessarily want everything you publish on Anchor to stick around forever.
To keep things simple, Anchor is starting with only Apple and Google's podcast networks; the former is perhaps the biggest podcast purveyor out there, while the latter is more of an afterthought. But fortunately, Anchor plans to add more options over time, including the ability to get the RSS feed necessary to put your podcasts in more places.
Like everything else in Anchor, publishing podcasts is a free feature that anyone can take advantage of. I asked Mignano what the company's plans for generating revenue were; he said that, for now, Anchor is focused on building out its product and making all of its tools readily available and easy to use for no cost. But he also noted that they're thinking about how to monetize in the future through things like ads or subscriptions. But, just like YouTube, he also wants Anchor to be a place where creators can also be paid for their work if it finds a sizable audience.
In the meantime, though, users don't need to worry about any of that. Just download the app, record some audio, and get it out there in the world. It's debatable whether most people who try Anchor will have deep thoughts worth archiving forever as a podcast -- but at the very least, the app's more dedicated users will now have a simple way of archiving and sharing their creations with a bigger audience that might not even know what Anchor is. If you want to give it a go, the updated app should be available in Google Play and the App Store now.