Generating content has a high price tag. It takes lots of time, resources, tools, knowledge… it’s undeniable.
In spite of this, podcasts have production costs that are lower than many other types of content. One minute of video content is much more expensive than one minute of audio for example.
This lowered price of admission is what explains podcasts’ exponential growth over the past years. 2020 was the year of podcasting and currently, it is an industry that is growing at an unstoppable rate.
But, just because the entrance fee is less, that doesn’t mean to say that it doesn’t have its own specific production costs.
To produce a podcast, there are basically 3 costs that are associated:
- The cost of production: the people who appear (their hourly wage and professional training) and the equipment necessary for recording and editing.
- The cost of hosting: the money necessary to pay the servers who will host and serve your audio files.
- The cost of promotion: the hours and the budget you dedicate to help get your podcast listened to.
Does a podcast cost money?
The answer to this question is yes, producing a podcast costs money. But we will get into deeper detail about these costs that are involved with producing, “hosting” and promoting a podcast, because there’s a lot to keep in mind.
In the production of a podcast, people are implicated at all steps (and their hours of dedication, which is also money) and also the equipment.
There are 4 instances during the production of a podcast where people their labor is necessary, whether it is done by you or someone does it for you:
- Pre-production: documentation, preparing scripts or outlines, scheduling guests, musical selection…
- Production: the recording of the podcast itself.
- Post-production: editing the episode in audio and/or video.
- Promotion: sending the post-episode newsletter, publishing across social media, emailing guests…
Only when you begin to produce a podcast will you realize the time that is really necessary to do it. The episode of a podcast is only the tip of the iceberg compared to the many hours of work that are behind it.
To produce a podcast, it is also necessary to have technical equipment with minimum standards that allow you to record a podcast with the required quality:
- USB Microphone: dynamic USB microphones like, Audio-Technica ATR2500 or Samsung Q2U are an excellent option. They offer great quality with an enormous sound, if you are in a space without a lot of echo.
- Headphones: There are many types of quality and prices. You can get started with your phone’s headphone/mic and later on invest in something better. From $30 on, you can find headphones in the semiprofessional gamma.
- Computer: One that has USB or USBc connections, and that can act as a hub (the place where you will connect everything you need: the mic, the headphones…)
- Recording Software: There are many available, from Audacity to Garage Band, or Quicktime or Zencastr, if you are recording online.
- Editing Software: From the likes of, for example, Audacity, Garage Band or Hindenburg.
- Licensed music and effects: licensed music and effects allow you to really get creative without having to worry about infringing any copyrights or jeopardizing any author’s rights. Epidemic Sound is a great example.
From here on, you can add a lot of equipment, like mixing boards, mic-stands, professional mics, sound-proofed studios and a long list of etceteras.
Hosting a podcast
Ah, hosting is generally the most forgotten aspect of the costs of producing a podcast. The reason is simple: there are platforms that will host your podcast for free like Anchor or Ivoox.
The same way there are free hostings for web pages, there are also free hostings for podcasts. But before you use a free hosting site, you should keep this in mind:
- Often they have strict limits on downloads and also on audio quality.
- The features are limited because nobody is making money from it. Don’t expect to get the features you were dreaming about with a free hosting site.
- You won’t be able to claim anything if you do not pay. If some day they discontinue the service, you won’t have any rights.
For these reasons, we always prefer to recommend a paid hosting site, for example:
- Transistor: their cheapest plan starts at $19.
- Spreaker: their cheapest plan starts at $6.
- Libsyn: their cheapest plan starts at $5.
- Mumbler: the payment for your hosting is included in the service we offer you.
There are many more, but we will cover them more in-depth in a specific post about hosting for podcasts.
Promoting a podcast
Getting listeners for your podcast isn’t an easy job. If you already have a podcast, you know just what we mean.
We are living in the age of entertainment. There are many people consuming content, which is without a doubt very positive, but the wide selection of content doesn’t stop growing. And this makes it increasingly more difficult for you to be “the chosen one.“
There are currently more 2,000,000 podcasts on Apple Podcasts and of these, approximately 1 million were created over the last year. If you do the math, you’d know that we will soon be doubling that number. BOOOOOM!
What’s more, we do not just have the challenge of getting noticed out of other podcasts, but we are also competing with many other types of content, (movies, video games, streaming, series, radio, TV…) which all want to achieve exactly the same as us.
In this context, managing to have your podcast stand out from the rest and earn more listeners is complicated.
Podcatchers like Spotify, Ivoox, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, PocketCast… also have not done much to help the “discoverability“ of podcasts, so much so that it is frankly quite difficult for someone to discover your podcast on these platforms.
So, you will have to invest time and money to carry out other marketing strategies that can help you to gain visibility.
Soon, we will publish another article where we will tell you more about this topic, but in the meantime, you can start saving time and money to invest in marketing your podcast. You’re going to need it!
Conclusion: produce a podcast
Produce a podcast requires an investment of money, time and resources. Just like what happens with any other type of content creation.
The fact that it has a more economic production cost than that of video, for example, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its own hosting, promotion, and production costs.
The great thing about podcasts is that with a small initial investment, you can achieve some great quality content.
A perfect example are the independent podcasts making money on Mumbler. They deal with small-scale productions, that share content with awesome quality.
If you too would like to be independent and make a living from your podcast, on Mumbler we can give you the tools you need to make it possible.
It has never been so easy to launch a subscription podcast. Join the movement of independent podcasters today!