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Anchor now lets podcasters receive Patreon-style pledges from listeners

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Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Anchor’s app makes it really easy to throw together a podcast. But if you keep doing that and manage to build an audience, there hasn’t been an easy way to get paid for it. Now Anchor is launching an option: a feature called Listener Support that allows listeners to pledge $1, $5, or $10 per month to specific podcasts.

Each podcast creator will have to individually enable the Listener Support feature. Beyond that, they and their supporters won’t have a lot of options — it’s locked into those three pledge points and a once-per-month payment. The whole thing is very reminiscent of Patreon, which allows people to voluntarily support creators, with their bill coming once a month.

Anchor will take a 4.5 percent cut of all payments, and Stripe, its payments processor, will take another 5 percent plus some flat processing and payout fees. Fortunately, podcast listeners won’t have to be Anchor users to sign up. After enabling Listener Support, Anchor will automatically add a link to a podcast’s show notes on all distributed platforms, which will bring people to a website where they can enter their payment information and select a pledge.

While podcasters could always include ads inside of their episodes, Anchor doesn’t offer a way to automatically do that or run some kind of pre-roll advertisement, like YouTube does. That means a podcast had to get big enough to find advertisers on its own, which isn’t going to be possible for the vast majority of Anchor’s audience of startup podcasters. Asked about placing ads inside of podcasts, a spokesperson for Anchor said “there is potential for additional monetization features on the platform in the future.”

Anchor still hasn’t said how many people are creating or listening through its app. So while Anchor might offer creators an easy way to get started, it’s not clear how big of an audience it offers them. Last year, however, it began distributing podcasts to different platforms, which allows the platform to be used for creation without limiting shows to the app’s built-in audience.

Last month, Anchor launched a “podcast lab” in Manhattan, where podcasters can book time, for free, to come in and record a podcast with a more professional setup. While Anchor has always been about creating and listening to audio, the app only really crystalized its focus on podcasting at the beginning of the year, when it redesigned its app around creating individual shows.