Podcasting is booming, and those of us who are serious about it are keen to monetize our shows – but how much do podcasters make? We’ll take a look at how much you can stand to make, what you can do to make more, and the top podcasters in the world at the moment.
In this article...
How much money can you make from a podcast?
As with any creative hobby, there are a lot of podcasters who don’t make any money at all from podcasting – they just do it for the joy of the hobby itself, or perhaps they don’t know how to effectively monetize.
The truth is, there is no “average” when it comes to podcast income. If you understand your niche, and you can demonstrate to advertisers and sponsors that your audience is engaged, you don’t need tens of thousands of downloads to start making good money.
One popular way to make money from your podcast is through premium content – it’s an effective and intuitive way to monetize your show to your engaged fans, and involves people paying you a monthly subscription, say $5, in exchange for exclusive content. It’s up to you whether that content is early access or exclusive and bonus episodes, merch, meetups – whatever it is, all that matters is that people are paying you for bonus content.
Let’s imagine you have 5000 monthly listeners, and 5% of those are super engaged listeners who will pay for your premium content. That’s 250 listeners paying you $5 each month, so $1250 each month. Not bad!
But how do you improve that? You could just try and get more listeners, through ad swaps (where you and another podcast include one anothers’ trailers in your respective feeds), increased social media promotion, paid advertising – any of the usual suspects for podcast marketing.
Or, you could try and make your current listeners more engaged, which is actually a far easier task. Start by shouting out some of your premium subscribers each month, and taking questions from them or accepting ideas for episode topics. Make it clear that your subscribers are valued and important.
Then, set up a free subscription tier, which includes some more trivial gifts like a sticker or access to your newsletter. That will get people on your email list – it’s far easier to get someone who is already subscribed, even for free, to upgrade for a few dollars than it is to get someone to sign up for nothing.
Try this for a few months, and see if this increases the number of premium subscribers. If it does this will really improve your monthly revenue without too much effort on your part.
Who is the highest paid podcaster?
If you’re into podcasting, it won’t be surprising that the highest paid male podcaster is Joe Rogan. According to Forbes, his deal with Spotify for the exclusive rights to his show, The Joe Rogan Experience, was worth at least $200 million.
It seems that deals with Spotify are where the big money comes from: the highest paid female podcaster, Alex Cooper, host of the Call Her Daddy podcast, secured at least $60 million for a three year deal for her show with the streaming giant.
What percentage of podcasts make money
The truth is, no one knows. Anyone who tells you different isn’t being honest – you can’t extrapolate earnings from downloads numbers, even if you knew how many downloads every podcast in the world got. A super niche podcast about dentistry with 2000 monthly listeners could score a super lucrative sponsorship with a mid size adult braces company and rake in ~$5k each month, whereas a podcast about sports with 8000 monthly listeners could not score a sponsorship because they’re too broad, and make a few hundred a month from premium content.
The best thing you can do to make money is to understand your audience, tailor every aspect of your brand towards them and to pitch to sponsors of a similar size and with the same target market – don’t worry about what Joe Rogan earns, as you can’t really apply any kind of lesson from it to your own show.
Can you make a living from podcasting?
If you’re smart about your marketing and explore different revenue streams, absolutely. It might take a little while, but work on putting out consistently good content each week (or month, however often you decide to publish) and building a strong relationship with your listeners to maintain engagement and you can develop your podcast into a good source of income.
Don’t try and monetize too early, or push your core fans too hard – at its core, your free, basic podcast experience needs to be absolutely stellar. That’s what will push your audience to want more, and to pay to get it. You’ll have to work hard for quite a while before your podcast can really pay your bills, but with dedication you can get there.
How long does it take for a podcast to make money?
If you’re starting from scratch, with no established audience, it will probably take you 6 months to a year to start making any kind of significant income. You need to develop your brand image and reputation, and deliver consistently excellent content to your listeners for a while before they’ll be willing to pay for premium content. The same goes for sponsors – you’ll need to demonstrate a consistently engaged audience in your niche over a period of months before they’ll be willing to put cold hard cash on the table.
How do you make money from your podcast?
Sponsorships are one of the most profitable methods for podcasters to monetize their content. In fact, according to our survey, a whopping 35% of podcasters indicated that this is their primary source of income from their shows.
You’ve got two distinct paths to explore when it comes to securing sponsors.
Option 1: Consider joining a network specializing in connecting podcasters with advertisers. They handle the heavy lifting, including locating potential advertisers, negotiating rates, crafting scripts, and addressing legal matters. However, it’s worth noting that this method typically requires a sizable audience of at least 5,000 to 10,000 listeners per episode to make it financially viable.
Keep in mind that when you go this route, the network you partner with will take a share of the profit.
Option 2: If your podcast has a more modest following or caters to a niche audience, we recommend taking a proactive approach by reaching out to companies that align well with your target audience.
With Captivate Tips, you can accept one-off donations from listeners who love your show and want to support you. It’s a great way for your big fans to support you without any continuous monthly obligation – a super casual way to earn a few extra dollars a month.
Use it as a Call To Action at the end of your episodes: “Hey, if you loved this episode, my support link is in the show notes – please consider sending me $2 or $5, it helps me to keep bringing this to you for free. Thanks!”
Listeners can also leave you a personal message when they donate – you can use this as a testimonial on your site.
Find out more about Captivate Tips here!
With Captivate Memberships, you can offer exclusive, premium content to your listeners in return for a monthly fee. You have complete customization over what prices to charge and what to include in each subscription tier.
This allows you to appeal to everyone: from more casual fans who are happy to give you a few dollars a month for your premium episodes, to your super fans who will happily pay $20 each month for exclusive merch rights. The only limit is your imagination!
Find out more about Captivate Memberships here.
When you become an affiliate for a company, you get a special link. If anyone signs up for that company’s product or service through that link, you receive a portion of the money they pay each month.
It’s important that you only become an affiliate for products or services that you either personally use or know well. You’ve spent a long time building up your brand reputation, and if you’re endorsing rubbish products all over the place then your listeners will start to lose trust in you.
Check out this article for 11 more tips on how to make money through your podcast.
- Do podcasts get paid on Spotify?
Podcasts don’t get paid for listeners through Spotify, or any other streaming service. This is in contrast to music, uploaders of which receive a certain amount of money for each stream.
- How many listeners does a podcast need to make money?
There isn’t any one answer to this question – it depends entirely on your niche, how you’re monetizing and how engaged the listeners are. You don’t need thousands of listeners, 100 engaged listeners are worth more than 2000 casual ones.
- How much does Joe Rogan make per podcast?
Joe Rogan is estimated to earn something in the realm of $100k per episode of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
- How much does a podcast with 1,000 listeners make?
A podcast with 1000 listeners could make anything from $0 per month to a couple of thousand – it depends if it’s in a particularly obscure niche, or a more saturated one with lots of competition. If the show is about a unique topic, sponsors with the same target audience will be more likely to sponsor.
- Do podcasters get paid per stream?
No, unlike musicians, podcasters don’t get paid per stream by streaming companies. In order to make money from your podcast, you’ll want to be including ads from your sponsor or selling some kind of premium content.
As with any creative industry, there are a lot of podcasters that don’t, and won’t, make any money at all from podcasting. Luckily, there are things you can do to remedy this.
There’s no average income for a podcaster, and you won’t need tens of thousands of downloads to start to monetize. Focus on yourself and your business, don’t worry about comparing yourself to the likes of Joe Rogan and Call Her Daddy.
It’s all about understanding your target audience and creating content that will appeal to them – in every aspect from the length of your episodes, to the merch you eventually offer. If you can crack that, you’ll be able to demonstrate to sponsors that you’ve got a consistently engaged listenership, and you’ll ensure that enough of your audience are big enough fans to pay you for your premium content.
If you’re new to Captivate, sign up for a free trial, where you have access to the full platform (nothing is restricted), including our highly-rated human 24/7 support team.
Not yet started your podcast? Take our 45 second quiz, to identify the one blocker that is getting in your way, and we’ll give you the next steps to overcome them!