Now anyone can host a podcast with SoundCloud.

SoundCloud is a popular audio distribution platform, and it has been beta testing a podcasting feature with a private group for at least four years. But the company has finally decided to lift the curtain on podcasting and is allowing anyone to try.

"We’re taking podcasting out of beta. It’s never been easier to tell stories, upload and share them across the web, as well as in podcast apps," announced SoundCloud in a blog post. "SoundCloud is perfect for podcasters looking for an intuitive hosting platform that’s built on the most stable infrastructure and provides the most detailed statistics to help you understand and grow your audience."

SoundCloud's podcasting feature is available through multiple tiers, including one free option and two paid options. Keep reading to learn more about how the feature works and whether it's something you should give a whirl.

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A podcast is like a radio show.

It's a digital audio file you can stream from the internet or download to a computer or mobile device. A podcast is typically available as a series, new episodes of which can be automatically received by subscribers through RSS, iTunes, etc.

As far as the term "podcasting" goes, it's simply when a person decides to upload and distribute a podcast. Simples.

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RSS distribution

If you haven’t created a SoundCloud profile, go to SoundCloud and set one up.

To get started with podcasting, you must first upload or edit an existing sound. When you want to distribute the podcast, use your RSS feed to deliver podcast episodes to your favorite podcasting apps.

Go to the permissions tab, and then select the “Include in RSS feed” option. Read through SoundCloud's Creator Guide for more detailed how-to instructions on how to publish to iTunes and get picked up by other podcast apps.

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Other features

SoundCloud podcasts aren't limited to RSS distribution.

The company said it is actively building the future of podcasting, with embeddable players designed to promote sharing. It's also integrated with social networks like Twitter, so you can share podcasts with your friends on certain sites.

SoundCloud is also offering timed comments, essentially rebuffing the myth that podcasting is a "solitary experience".

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SoundCloud charges $55 (about £35) a year for six hours of audio uploads every month. It also provides unlimited hosting for $135 (about £88) a year or a free tier with three hours of audio uploads.

Check out the official Podcasting on SoundCloud page or the SoundCloud Plans page for more details.

If you're still confused about SoundCloud podcasting but would like to learn more, chat with other podcasters on SoundCloud's Help Forum. You can also check out SoundCloud's announcing blog post.