Learn How to Make Money Online: How Do Podcasts Make Money?


Are you wondering, “How do podcasts make money?” and thinking about starting one? Read this article to learn more about podcasting.

More people than ever before are listening to and creating their own podcasts. In fact, there are over 850,000 active podcasts out there right now, some of which get millions of listeners per episode! Whether it’s for education or entertainment purposes, people have really taken to podcasts.

But how do podcasts make money? There’s no way all these podcasters are doing this for free, is there? Keep reading for the answer.

How Do Podcasts Make Money?

Podcasters have a lot of options when it comes to making money in their field. These options only expand as their listener-base does. Here are a few of those options:

Getting Sponsored

Many podcasts make money by taking on sponsors.

Sometimes these sponsors reach out to the podcast, and sometimes the podcaster reaches out to them. Sponsorship usually means the podcaster has to plug the sponsored company or product at some point in their podcast. They have to plug it in a positive way, for a pre-determined amount of time.

Sponsorships are usually paid with a CPM model. That means they get a certain amount of money per 1,000 downloads/listens of their podcast. Depending on where the ad appears and for how long depends on the amount.

Sponsors become more available as your audience grows. Companies want their sponsorship to be seen by the most eyes, so they tend to go for bigger fish. But sponsorships are worth hunting for at any stage of podcasting, as they can make you big bucks over time.

Selling Merchandise

People love the merchandise. Whether you’re a band, a YouTuber, or a podcaster, people want to show off what they’re into. From t-shirts to mugs and beyond, merchandise is a great way to make money podcasting.

Again, you’re going to need a bit of an audience and some dedicated fans for this one. But you never know who’s going to buy your merchandise and when. If you have a podcast, it’s a good idea to get merchandise going as soon as you can.

Uploading to Premium Podcasting Platforms

A lot of podcasters upload to sites like Luminary to get paid.

Luminary is a “premium” podcast provider. Their exclusive podcasts are locked behind a monthly subscription. They pay their podcasters to upload exclusively to their platform.

Heavy-hitters like Russel Brand and Trevor Noah are among the heaviest hitters on Luminary. Other premium podcast hosts include Buzzsprout and Podbean.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is kind of like having a sponsor, only with a little more wiggle room.

Affiliate marketing involves plugging a product on your podcast. The podcaster will usually give out a discount code to listeners. The listener uses this code on the website if they want to make a purchase.

The podcaster then gets a percentage of the sales made through their affiliate code. The listener gets a discount, and the podcaster gets paid. It’s a win-win situation.

There are tons of companies willing to market their products this way. From monthly gift boxes to Dollar Shave Club and Honey, it’s one of the most popular ways to start making money from a podcast.


Some podcasts ask their viewers to support them on a crowdfunding site like Patreon.

Patreon lets the listener donate as much or as little as they want to the podcast of their choice. This money goes to the podcaster to be used in any way they deem necessary. In return, the listener gets higher quality podcasts and Patreon-exclusive rewards depending on how much they give.

For example, a podcast might give you exclusive episodes if you donate $5 a month. At $10 they might give you a shoutout in the credits of the episode. The higher you give, the more enticing the reward.

Hosting on YouTube

You can make a good chunk of change hosting your podcast on YouTube.

YouTubers are paid a variable amount of money per 1,000 views on their uploads. Considering how many people are listening to and watching podcasts, YouTube is a great place to upload. This is especially true if your views are growing.

YouTube podcasts have become a bit of a subcategory of their own. Shows like the H3 Podcast, Cold Ones, and the Jenna+Julien Podcast are all created by famous YouTubers. They’re filmed, giving them an extra visual element that audio podcasts don’t have.

Of course, to make money on YouTube you have to follow their strict guidelines. That means nothing too inappropriate. You may have to censor your podcast if you want to make money off YouTube.

The most popular podcasters make two YouTube channels for their podcasts: The main channel, and a highlight channel. The highlighted channel consists of shorter clips from an episode of a podcast — the “highlights”. These tend to get lots of views from occasional listeners and can double the amount of money made from YouTube.

Other platforms like iTunes and Spotify also pay their podcasters per view. The more platforms you upload to, the more money you’ll make. It’s important to get your podcast out to as many platforms as possible to make the most money.

How to Make the Most Money by Podcasting

The most successful podcasts will combine the tactics above to make the most money.

Joe Rogan, for example, uses sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and merchandise to make all the money he does. He also hosts his podcast on YouTube and has a highlight channel. All this combined with his massive fanbase has solidified his podcast as a top earner.

The more ways you try and make money, the more money you’re likely to make.

Get That Podcast Payday

So, how do podcasts make money? They advertise, sell products, and reap the rewards of the platforms they host on. As their fanbase grows so do their opportunities, meaning the money pile only grows larger.

If you want to make money by podcasting, try out the tips above. Search for a sponsor, start a Patreon, and get your podcast out there. It may be an uphill battle, but one day you could be the next big podcaster.

For more on tech, fashion, and beyond, check out the other articles on our blog.

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