From Side Hustle to Main Gig: How Much Money do Podcasters Make?

From Side Hustle to Main Gig: How Much Money do Podcasters Make?
March 30, 2023 By / In Best in Podcasting

Podcasting has taken the world by storm, with millions of people tuning in to listen to their favorite shows every day. But have you ever wondered how much money do podcasters make from their craft? The first thing one needs to understand before we take a deep dive into the earnings is that there are multiple ways to monetize your podcast and high-earnings podcasts do precisely that. There is money that comes in through advertising but there are other sources as well.

If you’re considering starting a podcast or are simply curious about the industry, this blog is for you.We will delve into the world of podcasting and unveil the answer to the burning question on everyone’s mind: How much money do podcasters make?

1. How Much Do Podcasters Make per Episode

While some podcasters may make a comfortable living, others may struggle to generate significant income, so “How much money do podcasters make?” varies depending on a multitude of factors.

Sponsorships and advertisements are common ways for podcasters to make money per episode, with rates typically ranging from a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands per ad spot. Additionally, affiliate marketing, merchandise sales, and crowdfunding can also contribute to a podcaster’s earnings per episode. Ultimately, the income per episode of a podcast is determined by the podcaster’s ability to effectively monetize their content and grow their listener base.

2. How Many Listeners Do You Need to Make Money on a Podcast

How Many Listeners Do You Need to Make Money on a Podcast

The number of listeners required to make money on a podcast can vary widely depending on the monetization method used. For example, if a podcaster chooses to monetize their podcast through advertising, they will typically need to have at least 1,000 to 5,000 downloads per episode before they can start earning significant revenue. This is because advertisers often look for podcasts with a large and engaged audience before investing their advertising dollars. On the other hand, if a podcaster chooses to monetize their podcast through other means such as merchandise sales or consulting services, they may be able to make money with a smaller audience.

It’s important to note that building a loyal and engaged audience takes time and effort, and many successful podcasters have been creating content for several years before they start earning significant income from their podcast. Additionally, the amount of money a podcaster can make from their podcast will depend on a variety of factors, including the monetization method used, the size and engagement of their audience, and the niche they are operating in.

3. How Do Podcasts Generate Money?

3.1 Sponsorships

Sponsorships are one of the most popular ways for podcasts to make money. In a sponsorship deal, a company pays a podcaster to promote its product or service during the podcast episode. Typically, the sponsor will provide the podcaster with a script or talking points that they should cover during the episode. The podcaster then reads the script or incorporates the talking points into the conversation in a natural and organic way.

The amount of money that podcasters can make from sponsorships varies widely and depends on factors such as the size of their audience, the niche they are in, and the type of sponsor they work with. Some podcasters may make a few hundred dollars per episode, while others can make thousands of dollars for a single sponsorship deal.

3.2 Affiliate Marketing

n affiliate marketing, a podcast host will promote a product or service to their audience, and if their listeners make a purchase using a unique link or promo code provided by the podcast, the host will earn a commission on the sale. 

This form of marketing is beneficial for both the podcast host and the brand because it allows the host to earn revenue without having to create their own products, and the brand can reach a new audience through the podcast’s listenership. Podcast hosts can also choose to promote products or services that align with their brand and content, which can increase their credibility and trust with their audience.

3.3 Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding is a method used by podcasters to finance their shows through donations from their listeners. It involves setting up a fundraising campaign on a crowdfunding platform, such as Kickstarter or Patreon, where listeners can make a one-time or recurring contribution to support the podcast. This approach is popular among independent podcasters who have a loyal fanbase and a strong online presence. In exchange for donations, podcasters often offer rewards to their supporters, such as early access to episodes, exclusive content, merchandise, or personalized shoutouts.

Crowdfunding can be a sustainable source of income for podcasters, especially for those who do not have access to traditional revenue streams, such as sponsorships or advertisements. It also allows podcasters to maintain creative control over their content, as they are not obligated to cater to the demands of advertisers or sponsors.

3.4 Merchandise Sales

Podcasters can create merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, or other items featuring their podcast’s logo or catchphrase. Fans of the podcast can purchase these items to support the show and show their appreciation. Many podcasters use online platforms such as Shopify or Etsy to sell their merchandise. 

They not only generate revenue for the podcast but also serve as a form of advertising, as fans wearing or using the merchandise can help promote the podcast to others. Additionally, merchandise sales can help build a sense of community around the podcast, as fans feel connected to the show and to each other through their shared ownership of the merchandise.

3.5 Live Shows

Live shows are another way for podcasters to earn money. By hosting live shows, podcasters can offer their audience an opportunity to see their favorite podcasts live and in person. These events often include a ticket fee or cover charge, which provides the podcasters with an additional revenue stream.
 Live shows also provide an opportunity for podcasters to sell merchandise, interact with their fans, and network with potential sponsors. However, live shows can also be expensive to produce and require significant planning and promotion to ensure a successful event. Overall, live shows are a great way for podcasters to connect with their audience and monetize their podcast outside of traditional advertising or sponsorship revenue.

3.6 Donations

Donations are a popular way for podcasters to make money from their shows. Some podcasters rely entirely on donations from their listeners to fund their shows, while others use donations to supplement income from other sources, such as advertising or sponsorships. Listeners can make one-time donations or recurring donations through platforms like Patreon or PayPal. 

To encourage donations, podcasters may offer exclusive content or perks to donors, such as early access to episodes, bonus content, or merchandise. Building a loyal listener base is key to making donations a viable source of income, as listeners are more likely to donate if they feel a strong connection to the podcast and its hosts.

3.7 Subscriptions


Subscriptions are a common revenue stream for podcasts, especially for those that produce exclusive content for their subscribers. This model is often used by podcast networks and larger media companies. Listeners can pay a monthly or annual fee to access additional content, early releases of episodes, ad-free listening experiences, and other exclusive perks. 

Some podcasters offer different tiers of subscriptions with varying levels of benefits to appeal to different types of listeners. This model can provide a reliable source of income for podcasters, but it requires a dedicated audience willing to pay for premium content.

Similar to sponsored episodes, sponsored content involves partnering with brands or businesses that want to promote their products or services to the podcast’s audience.In this case, the podcast host or hosts will create a dedicated episode or segment that highlights the sponsor’s offering. This may involve an interview with the sponsor’s representative, a product review, or simply a mention of the sponsor and their product or service within the context of the episode’s content.

Sponsored content deals can be lucrative for podcasts, especially if they have a large and engaged audience. However, it is important for podcasts to ensure that their sponsorships align with their values and audience interests, in order to maintain the trust and loyalty of their listeners.

3.9 Branded Content

Branded content refers to content that is created specifically for a particular brand. This type of content is typically designed to be entertaining or informative and is meant to engage the audience. Brands may sponsor podcasts and create branded content that is relevant to the podcast audience. 

This can include product reviews, interviews with brand representatives, or other content that highlights the brand’s values or mission. In exchange for creating this content, the brand pays the podcast a fee. This can be a lucrative way for podcasts to make money, especially if they have a loyal and engaged audience that is interested in the brand’s products or services.

3.10 Consulting Services

Consulting Services

Podcasters who have expertise in a particular area can offer consulting services to their listeners and fans. For example, a podcast about social media marketing can offer consulting services to businesses that want to improve their social media presence.

Consulting services can be offered as a package deal or on a per-hour basis, depending on the podcast and the services offered. The podcast host can use their platform to promote their consulting services, and their listeners already trust and value their expertise. This can make it easier to attract clients and generate revenue. Consulting services can be a great way to diversify revenue streams and monetize a podcast beyond advertising and sponsorships.

3.11 Voiceover Work

Voiceover work is another way for podcasters to monetize their skills and earn money. As a podcaster, you may have a unique voice that could be used for a variety of voiceover projects, such as commercials, audiobooks, or even corporate training videos. You can market your voiceover services to potential clients through your podcast, website, or social media channels. In addition, voiceover work can also be a way to build your brand and expand your reach beyond just podcasting.

3.12 Public Speaking

As podcasters build a following, they can leverage their platform to secure speaking engagements at conferences, events, and other public forums. This not only provides an additional source of income but also helps to establish the podcaster as an authority figure in their industry. 

Public speaking opportunities can range from keynote speeches to panel discussions and can be both virtual and in-person. Podcasters receive compensa for their speaking engagements in a variety of ways, including a flat fee, travel expenses, or a percentage of ticket sales.

4. How Long Does It Take for a Podcast to Make Money

It’s common for new podcasters to wonder how long it takes to start earning money from their podcast. Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. The time it takes for a podcast to make money depends on several factors, such as the size of your audience, your podcast’s niche, the type of monetization strategies you use, and how much effort you put into promoting your podcast.

 Some podcasters start earning money from sponsorships and advertising after a few episodes, while others take months or even years to monetize their podcasts. In this section, we’ll explore some of the factors that can affect how long it takes for a podcast to make money. To get a better understanding of “How much money do podcasters make?” It’s helpful to research successful podcasters and their income streams.

5. Highest Earning Podcasts

Highest Earning Podcasts

5.1 The Joe Rogan Experience

Hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, The Joe Rogan Experience has topped the charts as one of the most popular podcasts. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast first launched in December 2009. Initially, the show was a platform for Rogan to have conversations with fellow comedians. But it quickly expanded to include discussions with scientists, athletes, authors, and other experts.  As per reports Rogan earns around $30 million per year from the podcast, thanks to its massive audience and lucrative advertising deals.

5.2 Crime Junkie

This true crime podcast hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat has been a massive hit since its launch in 2017. The show focuses on true crime stories, with each episode delving into a different case. The hosts’ engaging storytelling style and in-depth research have been praised by fans, and the podcast has become one of the most popular true crime podcasts.It is reported that Crime Junkie earns around $250,000 per month from advertising revenue and merchandise sales.

5.3 My Favorite Murder

Another true crime podcast, My Favorite Murder is hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Launched in early 2016, it has since become a hit with true crime fans. The show’s format includes discussions of true crime cases, as well as personal anecdotes and humorous tangents. Reports indicate that the podcast earns around $1 million per year from advertising deals and merchandise sales. The hosts also make additional income from live shows and book deals.

6. FAQs

  • How much money do top podcasters make?

The answer to the question “How much money do podcasters make?” varies greatly depending on the podcast’s popularity and advertising revenue.Top podcasters can earn millions of dollars annually through sponsorships, advertising revenue, merchandise sales, and other revenue streams.

 The exact amount can vary widely depending on factors such as audience size, industry niche, and the podcaster’s ability to monetize their content.

  • How do podcasters get paid?

Podcasters typically get paid through sponsorships, advertising revenue, merchandise sales, crowdfunding, and other revenue streams. Payment may come in the form of a flat fee, a commission on sales, or a revenue share arrangement.

  • Is making a podcast profitable?

Making a podcast can be profitable, but it requires dedication, hard work, and the ability to effectively monetize the content. Podcasters need to build a loyal audience, attract sponsors or advertisers, and develop multiple revenue streams in order to generate a sustainable income.

  • How much does the average podcast host make?

The average podcast host makes anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the podcast’s popularity, niche, and monetization strategy. However, it is difficult to determine an exact average as podcasting is a rapidly evolving industry with a wide range of earning potential.

Subscribe to The Podcast Express

We won't spam you, we promise! We'll only send you the best articles and resources to help with creating your very own podcast and making a name for yourself in the industry!

Marketing by