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How Much Do Podcasters Make?

Starting a podcast side hustle and wondering how much do podcasters make? Here’s everything you need to know to start earning off your podcasts!
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
March 17, 2022
Last Updated:
December 27, 2023
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

You’ve likely heard of the millions of dollars the highest-paid podcasters earn. But how much do podcasters actually make make?

With podcast content growing in popularity, it’s no wonder  many people are interested in finding out how they can make money podcasting. Not everyone manages to make much money from podcasting. It takes hard work, but it’s possible. You’ll need an innovative concept, the right equipment for high-quality recordings and enough of a drive to grow your audience. 

Here's everything you need to know about how much podcasters make and how you can start making money off your podcast content too.

How much money do average podcasts make?

Podcasts can be a highly effective revenue stream, but how much podcasters make varies widely across the industry. While many successful podcasters make thousands or even millions of dollars, smaller-scale creators might only earn a few hundred. 

It's difficult to give an exact estimate as it really depends on how many downloads a podcast has as well as what streams of revenue they're pushing for. For example, if someone is using affiliate sales, advertising, sponsorships, and paid subscriptions, they're likely to earn much more than someone who's only relying on one stream. In this case, we'd say that a podcaster can possibly earn somewhere around $300- $5 000 per episode with 10 000 downloads. Although we'll reiterate that this is a rough estimate and without knowing what monetization efforts are in place, we can't give an exact figure. Very successful podcasts can earn much more, reaching even up to millions in annual income.

How much money you can make podcasting depends on a few factors. Podcasters who target a highly engaged niche audience and produce content regularly are likely to earn more than those who produce less in-demand content and release podcasts sporadically. Your marketing and advertising strategies, as well as your additional revenue streams, can also have a significant impact on your total podcast income. Creators who market effectively and try numerous monetization strategies typically earn more than those who do not.

Watch the video below to learn more about what you can expect to earn from different revenue models:

Can you make good money as a successful podcaster?

It is possible to make good money as a podcaster, but earning a living from your podcast content can take time. The best way to improve your earning capacity is by clearly defining your goals and establishing effective strategies to help you achieve them. 

You can accomplish through the following steps:

Step 1: Start your podcast journey with a good understanding of the niche audience your content will serve. Use this knowledge to guide your content and help you gain loyal listeners.

Step 2: Ensure that your audio input is as high-quality as possible. We recommend using Riverside to capture podcast audio.

Step 3: Start thinking about additional income opportunities. Could you produce exclusive paid content? Could you start hosting events, accepting listener donations, or selling products? Podcasters make money in lots of different ways.

How many listeners do you need to make money on a podcast?

There are no set guidelines to indicate when you can start making money podcasting. It's never too early to start generating podcast income.

While some of the highest-earning podcasters are those with large audiences, smaller podcasters with good business skills can also achieve good financial results.

It is a good idea to continue growing your audience to improve your income potential, as larger podcasts can often access greater earning opportunities through all revenue streams.

How long does it take for a podcast to make money?

Every podcast is different and while some may make money early on, for others it can take months or sometimes even longer. The more listeners you have, the more likely you’ll be able to earn from your podcast. This is why it’s important to focus on creating a quality podcast show, and promotion techniques. 

Once you have a lot of listeners you can charge more for advertising rates. Most podcast advertising rates work on a CPM or cost per mile rate, this is a rate for every 1000 listeners you have. This means that the more listeners you have, the more money you can start earning. 

This is why instead of focusing on how long it’ll take it’s best to focus on how to grow your listenership.

12 ways to make money as a podcaster

There are a few main ways that podcasters generate income. If you're eager to make money as a podcaster, here are twelve earning strategies you can try.

1. Sponsorships & advertising

Sponsorships and advertising are one of the key ways to earn money as a podcaster. When you partner with sponsors or advertisers, you can generate income simply by mentioning a brand a few times in your podcast! This kind of advertising space is a popular marketing strategy and is becoming increasingly common in the growing podcast industry.

How much you make from podcast sponsorships and ad revenue will vary based on your average number of downloads per episode. Podcasts with a large established audience present greater advertising value and tend to be favored by more expensive podcast sponsors.

As your audience grows, keep an eye out for new marketing and advertising opportunities. A new podcast sponsorship might be right around the corner with an impressive price tag attached.

2. Affiliate marketing

Affiliated marketing is another common podcast revenue stream. With affiliate sales, you can earn income every time someone purchases something through an affiliate link that you provide.

Generally, affiliate marketing is most effective once you have built a reasonable audience for your podcast content. You can mention your affiliate links during your podcast and encourage listeners to make a purchase.

In the beginning affiliate sales might only make you a few dollars here and there, but over time, it can become a high-earning income stream.

3. Coaching & consulting

When you produce a successful podcast, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of listeners will tune in to hear what you have to say. Your audience is likely to be interested in your success and how you can help them.

Many podcasters offer paid coaching and consulting services to share their knowledge with their audience. You might offer support to help get other podcasts off the ground, or you could coach others to better understand your podcast's topic or niche.

Coaching and consulting services can be a great way to make money podcasting and expand your overall earning strategy beyond the confines of your show.

4. Premium content

When you have a popular podcast, your audience will always want to hear more! You can meet this interest by producing premium content.

Creating exclusive content is one of the most popular podcast monetization methods. This is because it builds on your existing audience and content creation abilities. You can invite podcast listeners to pay money to access additional content.

Remember to keep any extra paid content on brand and to ensure that it is just as high-quality as your mainstream podcast content. The better your premium content, the more likely your audience will continue paying more money to listen.

5. Creator collaborations

Creator collaborations are another podcasting earning avenue. They also offer great opportunities to help you grow your podcast audience and enhance future income capacity.

If you're considering collaborating with other podcasters, try to work with creators in a similar niche. This way, you're more likely to reach high-converting listeners. Over the course of your collaboration, you'll be able to work with a colleague to get podcasting tips and explore new podcast monetization methods.

Popular podcasts are perfect for collaborations! The more people who listen to your content, even on someone else's podcast, the more potential listeners your own podcast could gain.

6. Crowdfunding & donations

Many successful podcasts rely on crowdfunding and listener donations to generate income. This monetization strategy means that you rely directly on your audience to fund podcast content.

Donations often have a great influence on how much podcasters make. Most podcasters use crowdfunding and donations to cover production expenses, such as podcasting equipment or recording software. You can access crowdfunding using platforms such as Kickstarter or Patreon.

When requesting funds from donors, it's important to show return on investment. This means that the people who donate money should be able to see how their funds are being used to make your podcast even better. It can also be nice to show your gratitude by giving donors access to exclusive content.

7. Physical product sales

Your podcast revenue doesn't have to stop at the end of an episode! Many podcasters move into merchandising, creating and selling physical product sales as a means of earning smart passive income.

What you sell is likely to vary depending on the topic and audience of your podcast. If your show is educational, you might sell a learning resource or guidebook. Hosts of entertainment-focused podcasts frequently sell standard mech, like homewares and apparel. You can produce these using a print-on-demand service.

If you're unsure of what physical products to sell, turn to your audience for input. Use your next episode as a platform to ask listeners what products they'd be interested in purchasing from you.

8. Book sales

Similarly to the product-based income stream, book sales are highly lucrative for many podcasters, offering a new way to share information.

Your podcast is a way of communicating with listeners from all around the world. A book can help you spread the word even further! Writing a niche-specific book can help you expand your audience while also giving you a valuable product to sell.

Many successful podcasters earn high income from self-published books focusing on their podcast topic or even on the art of podcasting itself.

9. Selling services

If you're not sure about selling products, you can also sell services to your podcast audience. The services you sell will vary depending on your niche.

If you host an educational podcast, you might be able to sell teaching or professional skills relevant to your industry. You can also help other podcasts improve by selling podcast-related services, like branding, transcribing, or audio editing.

Choose services that are interesting to and needed by your podcast listeners. If you're not sure what your audience would like, ask them!

10. Online courses

Developing an online course can be the key to higher podcast earnings! Like other products and services, an online course can allow you to share knowledge and information in a new and engaging format.

Online courses are easy to create and can be sold to large audiences if the course is self-paced. You can use your course to engage directly with your audience and offer support that helps them learn more from you.

If you decide to set up an online course, you'll need to market it well. Tell people about it in your podcast episodes, and share links on your social media platforms and website.

11. Public speaking engagements

Most successful podcasts can convert to public speaking engagements. In fact, public speaking can make for fresh, interesting podcast content, as well as helping you reach new audiences.

How much you earn from public speaking fees can vary greatly, with standard rates ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. The great thing about public speaking is that allows you to talk just like you would on your podcast. It's the perfect in-person gig for a podcast host.

If you're open to speaking opportunities, make this as clear as possible. Contact event organizers with your speaking fees and availability to secure your next paying opportunity.

12. Live events

Similarly, live events can be a great way to aid to your podcast income. Hosting your own events allows you to connect with your audience in a highly engaging way.

Live events can look however you want them to, and in most cases, you can set your own ticket prices. Be sure to account for any expenses, such as sound equipment or venue rent.

Use your events as part of your advertising campaign, and sell your products or services onsite. Audience purchases are often high at live events. 

Tools to help you monetize your podcast

When it comes to generating podcast revenue, it’s important that you have the right tools and applications to help you. There are a range of strategies you can use to improve your approach to podcast marketing and monetization. 

One of the most popular monetization tools for podcasters is Patreon. Operating across the globe, Patreon allows users to create paid membership tiers and programs. USing Patreon, you can receive money from podcast listeners and provide extra content in return. Patreon is a preferred option for rewards-based donor programs. However, you can also manage these things separately using popular international payment channels, like Stripe or PayPal. 

Another option is to join an advertising program or network. There are many networks and affiliate programs to choose from, depending on your podcast’s niche. Joining an advertising network like AdvertiseCast can allow you to access unique sponsorship and advertising opportunities. 

Finally, you can make extra money podcasting by syndicating your podcast episodes to an external service, such as YouTube. By sharing existing content on another platform, you can reach wider audiences and more opportunities without needing to create anything new. Make sure you enable ads and monetization in your account settings, and leave the rest up to Google Ads. 

If you’re looking for extra ways to monetize, you can also sell extra audio content, put back-catalogue podcast episodes behind a paywall, or convert audio content and transcriptions into new saleable materials.

Create professional-quality podcasts if you plan to monetize! This makes you more credible and attractive to new listeners. Luckily, with Riverside this is easy! Learn more here, or  start recording today.
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Popular podcast advertising networks

As mentioned above, podcast advertising networks are a great way to connect with good sponsorships and advertising opportunities. Sometimes you have to pay a fee to be part of these networks, but they can help you find the right sponsors that match your brand as a podcast.

Some popular options include:

10 highest-paid podcasters

There are many talented podcasters who have proven the potential for podcasts to earn income for their creators. These are 10 of the highest-earning podcasts.

1. Joe Rogan

Comedian Joe Rogan hosts one of the highest paid podcasts available, with millions of views per episode. Launching the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2009, Rogan has gone from strength to strength, hosting famous guests and earning over $30 million US per year.

Joe Rogan the highest paid podcaster.
(Image source: The Joe Rogan Experience)

2. Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark

Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are the hosts of My Favorite Murder (MFM), a popular true crime podcast. Since its inception in 2016, MFM has been the launching point for five offshoot podcasts, a booming tour business, and a bestselling book. It's also earned its hosts over $15 million US annually!

My favorite murder, the second most high-earning podcast.
(Image source: My Favorite Murder)

3. Dave Ramsey

The Dave Ramsey Show podcast is a popular source of budgeting and finance education, welcoming over 13 million weekly listeners. The call-in advice show empowers audiences to spend wisely and achieves great income results of its own, earning Ramsey $10 million US every year.

The third highest paid podcaster Dave Ramsey
(Image source: The Ramsey Show)

4. Dax Shepard

Since 2018, Dax Shepard's podcast, Shepard Armchair Expert, has been a popular source of celebrity interviews. The show welcome all kinds of guests, from Hollywood actors to accomplished neuroscientists. Nearly 20 million listeners tune in every month, with Shepard receiving $9 million annual podcast income.

Dax Shepard, the fourth highest paid podcaster.
(Image source: Armchair Expert)

5. Bill Simmons

The Bill Simmons Podcast has been running for only a couple of years, but already, it is one of the top 25 Apple podcasts. The show has a loyal fanbase, and some reports say that Spotify is interested in acquiring exclusive rights. Last year, Simmons earned an impressive $7 million US podcasting.

Bill Simmons, the 5th highest paid podcaster.
(Image source: The Bill Simmons Podcast)

6. Chapo Trap House podcasters

The bi-weekly Chapo Trap House podcast has been a source of controversy for its divisive opinions, but that doesn't mean that it's lost any listeners. The show has achieved incredible success, including supporting the hosts' New York Times Bestseller book release. Each year, this podcast generates about $2 million US.

Chapo Trap House, the 6th highest paid podcast.
(Image source: Chapo Trap House)

7. Tim Dillon

The Tim Dillon Show focuses on conspiracy theories and has quickly earned a loyal listenership. Dillon releases new episodes weekly and regularly appears on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast too. Dillon earns around $1.3 million US podcasting per year.

Tim Dillon, the 7th highest paid podcaster.
(Image source: The Tim Dillon Show)

8. Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income provides weekly finance and earning strategies to a loyal audience of regular listeners. The show has helps Flynn provide online business advice to people around the world. Each year, it generates $1.2 million US.

Pat Flynn's  Smart Passive Income Podcast
(Image source: Smart Passive Income Podcast)

9. Patrick Hinds & Gillian Pensaville

Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensaville are among the highest-paid podcasters, thanks to their fan-favorite podcast, True Crime Obsessed. Focusing on historical and contemporary mysteries, this show earns a yearly sum of $1.2 million US.

Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle's True Crime Obsessed podcast
(Image source: True Crime Obsessed)

10. Andrew Schulz & Akaash Singh

Andrew Schulz and Akaash Singh are the hosts of Flagrant 2, a Patreon podcast best known for its "unfiltered" and "unapologetic" discussions. The show tackles hot topics and controversies and earns its creators $1.2 million US in annual revenue. 

Andrew Schulz & Akaash Singh's high paid Flagrant podcast.
(Image source: Flagrant 2)
Looking for more? Read on How to Promote, Grow, and Monetize Your Podcast in 2024
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