How much money do podcasts make?

How much money do podcasts make

You just created your own podcast because you believe in the content that you are producing. But do you know how much money podcasts can make?

Is starting a podcast worth it?

Before knowing how to earn money from a podcast, it is important to know if it is worth it. If you really started from scratch and have to buy equipment and don’t really know what topic or material to develop in the podcast, then you might have a hard time starting it. But if you are already holding audio or video classes, or have prepared original scripts and documents that can be read aloud online, you already have the initial material you need to create the first few episodes of your podcast.  

In addition, you only need basic podcasting equipment and a podcast distribution network on the internet, which in most cases are free. Now, you can start your first episode with this basic equipment and materials.

Can you make money from a podcast?

Woman Counting Money

When you first start your podcast, you have to create it out of true love for the craft, because there is no money yet to speak of in the first few episodes. But once you get going, Advertise Cast reports that the average podcast advertising rate for a 30-second ad is $18 CPM (cost per mille or cost per 1,000 listeners) and $25 CPM for a 60-second ad. 

If your podcast really gets to be popular, advertisers are willing to pay you $25 to $40 for every 1,000 listeners. 

So the border between non-monetization and earning is 1,000 listeners. Once you rapidly get to 500 listeners, advertisers start paying attention to your podcast.

Podcasting according to Reddit

Reddit is a discussion website wherein people from all walks of life contribute links or comments to liven up a discussion about a certain topic. 

A topic that’s been hot is how to earn in podcasting. According to the pulse of podcast observers, 1,000 to 2,000 listeners per episode gives the podcast creator a wage income two notches higher than minimum wage income, encouraging them to sustain the momentum and push the number of listeners higher. 

Man With Black Headphones Listening to Podcast

If you have retained a sizable 30,000 listeners per episode, you are edging closer to the Big Leaguers and you may be able to earn $1,500 to $2,500 per week. 

According to the pulse of the Reddit contributors, take it easy with the ratings game and the number of listeners hall of fame with your podcast. With around 800,000 podcasts to compete with, enjoy it while you are podcasting, make its quality as great as you can, and sit back and relax, even if you have just under 50 listeners. Meaning to say, the podcast market is really stiff.

How many downloads does a podcast need to make money?

Most successful podcasts have at least 50,000 downloads in 30 days. Episodes with 9,000 downloads are put it in the top five percent of podcasts while 3,400 downloads make those podcasts rank in the top 10 percent. This means that for a podcast to say it earns real money to make a living for its creators, it must have at least 3,000 downloads. 

Food for thought – the average podcast averages only 141 downloads in 30 days – which is non-sustainable.

Who are the highest paid podcasters?

Gold Black Microphone

Do you know that the H3 podcast of comedians Ethan and Hila Klein make upward of $100,000 per episode? The top podcast show, Freakonomics Radio, created by Stephen Dubner (author, journalist, TV and radio star) earns $225,000 per episode and regularly outputs 1.5 million downloads per episode. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast made $30 million in 2019 and was downloaded 190 million times per month in that same year. 

But these podcast success stories do not make up for the countless others who hardly make money on theirs. Aaron Mahnke, who runs the popular podcast Lore, advises, through Forbes, that newbie podcasters should not rely on only one but multiple streams of income, flowing like a river into their podcasts. You will never know what source will dry up, so it is better to be prepared for the drought in one source and enjoy the flood that comes in from the others. 

There are several things that Mahnke does to make continuous earnings off of his podcast. The primary one is selling ads, but once the podcast got really famous, he ventured into selling merchandise, receiving crowdfunding and donations, selling tickets for live shows, and more options.

What podcast platforms reach out to monetization sources?

Woman Using Spotify on iPhone

It is also important to know what are the podcast platforms which can enable your podcast to reach the most number of people. According to Edison Research, 43 percent of podcast listeners use Spotify to listen to podcasts. Spotify has 207 million active users and 500 million downloads in Android devices. So it is imperative to request admission into the Spotify hemisphere. Other worthy podcast platforms that many people patronize are Apple podcasts and Google podcasts

These platforms form the key for your podcast to become known to advertisers and other sources of income.

What does Spotify do to make podcasts earn on it?

Spotify promotes new podcasts by using its recently launched algorithmic “Your Daily Podcast” playlist. Spotify uses the data produced by its listeners’ daily usage and uses these to recommend podcasts suited to the preference and taste of the Spotify user. 

Spotify is a relatively new player in the podcast streaming industry but it already has a chunky 43 percent of listeners who get their podcasts from their platform. 

To know the efforts of Spotify to expand its podcasting base, 700,000 podcasts already call Spotify their second home, and 16 percent of all listeners on Spotify (both music and podcasts) now listen to podcasts. 

Spotify Feed on Laptop

Spotify hopes to expand its Premium subscribers (paying) to 150 million listeners in 2020. If you’ve got a podcast on Spotify, make your podcast really good and unique (niche worthy) and you can garner a big chunk of this large market of subscribers. 

Spotify broadcasts to 75 countries and territories and is readily available on iOS and Android, web browsers, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and just about everywhere.

How much do podcasters earn on Spotify?

Just to give you an example of a podcast success story on Spotify, Amy Schumer created one of the 40 podcasts on The Ringer specifically for Spotify. The Ringer, in 2019, had 420 million downloads, and earned $15 million in ad revenue. Amy Schumer, in the process, got a $1 million payday just for creating this podcast for Spotify. 

The Ringer is an online publication for sports and pop culture which was acquired in 2019 by Spotify from Bill Simmons for $200 million. Spotify wanted to fortify its place in podcasting and The Ringer is a nice fit because it has 40 podcasts, including that of Amy Schumer, under its name.

How much does Joe Rogan make per podcast?

Podcast Equipment Set up Microphone and Computer

Joe Rogan is the former host of the series “The Fear Factor” and also a commentator on UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). He got into martial arts as a kid, which is how he got connected with UFC as a commentator.

Early on, he discovered that he not only excelled in combat arts but also had a flair for comedy. 

His podcast, according to Forbes, is the top podcast of 2019. The Joe Rogan Experience earned a bewildering $30 million in revenue and has been downloaded a staggering 190 million times per month in 2019. 

Joe Rogan is a favorite internet meme due to iconic phrases such as “Jamie, pull that up, ” and “a buddy of mine”. He seems to be very influential with his fans. Through his podcast, he fanned the flames for the discussion about how it is absurd that the three judges on every UFC bout – most of them never really stepped into the ring and never really felt what fighting is all about. 

He wants ex-fighters to step up as the new judges in UFC and he wants not three, but nine judges per fight. He likes nine judges because for him, nine is like a tie breaker number, in case of close calls. 

How’s that for a podcaster like Joe Rogan to influence public opinion?

How much money does Armchair Expert make?

Woman with Headphones Listening to Podcast on Plane

If you would please take this podcast statistics to heart: 

  • 2,000 out of 800,000 podcasts are making significant income. That’s about 1 in 350 shows.
  • 7.1% of podcasts have 5,000 downloads per episode.
  • 2% of podcasts garner 20,000 downloads per episode. 
  • 1% of podcasts get 37,000 downloads per episode. 

If you would consider all these dreary figures, what would you think of the success of actor and director Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert? It has three ads per episode and makes $150,000 for each episode. 

Dax Shepard, who is worth $13 million, is one lucky dude podcaster who relies on his Hollywood contacts to create a unique podcast. Each episode, Dax Shepard navigates, with his guest, what it means to be human.

What are the sources of revenue for podcasts?


Women Listening to Podcast With Headphones

When earning money for a podcast, the first thing that comes to mind is sponsors and advertisers. Just like traditional tv, radio, newspapers and magazines, and YouTube channels – the traditional route to earn money in podcasts is through benefactors who buy advertising time in your podcast, whether through a taped ad or through voice-overs in the middle of the episode. 

Podcast advertising networks like Advertisecast, Midroll, and Podgrid find alternative ways for podcasts to find sponsors. 

Crowdfunding and Donations

When the nature of your podcast is non-profit or for a good cause such as disease cure research, donations and crowdfunding sources will come marching in.

Philanthropists who have a lot of cash (and sometimes looking for tax deductible investments for tax purposes) and looking for worthy movements to put in their cash, are increasingly becoming aware of the power of the podcast to make the public aware of a social or medical issue that needs to be resolved. 

Most of these people who start this type of podcast do so as a labor of love and didn’t even expect monetary returns at the start. Leslie Krongold, who runs the Glass Half Full podcast, where chronic health conditions like hers are discussed, set up a GoFundMe fund for donations to her podcast to keep on going. 

New income by gaining customers for their products and services

White Merchandise Jumpers on Rack

Professionals or entrepreneurs who have a service or product to sell can communicate through podcast awareness of the merchandise that they are selling. 

The Sales Chat Show podcast was launched by sales experts Graham Jones, Simon Hazeldine, and Phil Jesson to help other selling professionals with their craft in consummating sales. 

As a result, inquiries poured in for the trio for consultancy work and opportunities to travel the lecture circuit for salesmanship.

This created a nice flow of unexpected income between the podcast and outside commitments.

Affiliate Income

There are podcasts that rely on getting a cut from the products and services that they advertise on the show. 

On The Undisclosed True Crime podcast, the listeners were provided with an offer code to save them 10 percent when they use for setting up a website. The podcasters then take their cut when customers use that offer code to set up a website. is known for investing $12 million annually for podcast advertising, according to AdExchanger.

Paid Content

Man Holding Cash Money

There are podcasts which bravely start out as not free, but as premium or paid content. You might be surprised at the number of people willing to pay a price to be able to listen to a podcast of their choice. 

The Swedish podcast Acast+ is testing with subscriptions ranging from $3 to $7 per month for listeners. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast charges $2 for old content and $6 to $70 for Hardcore History episode compilations for listeners who like to binge-listen. 

Sell Branded Merchandise

Podcasters have realized that listeners who love their show are willing to buy merchandise associated with the show such as T-shirts, mugs, caps, refrigerator magnets, etc. 

Selling Tickets for Live Shows

Podcasting Live Show

This is an alternative source of income for podcasts, wherein concerts and other types of live shows tap the popularity of podcasts to sell to their listener’s tickets for their upcoming shows. The podcast gets a cut from the ticket sales.

Lower the Costs To Make Money

The simpler the better. Some podcasts rely on simple equipment to get their messages across, so as to earn money.

Some podcasters, like the Mind Gap podcast, even made a deal with a Chicago bar named Elephant and Castle in order to use the place as a free venue every time they record the podcast, in exchange for free advertisement for the bar. 

By this time, you have ideas on how much money podcasts make. And you have realized that the income stream is not immediate. Your love for your craft or cause, which made you start your podcast in the first place, is what you should base your perseverance on in perfecting the intricacies of your podcast. Eventually, your goal is to make the podcast click, get your message across to similarly minded listeners (or even change public opinion), and eventually earn your revenue stream through varied sources.

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