If you’re like me, you have 10 different podcasts on Spotify that you are continually checking for new episodes. Although it is a relatively new world, the podcast scene has been exploding.
Just take a look at this Google Trends report for search interest in “podcasts” since 2010. Interest in podcasts has been on a steady rise since 2010, and for a good reason.
Running a podcast is truly a win-win situation for everyone involved. Most often, running a podcast is just talking about what you already are talking about, the only difference is that you’re recording it.
You’re also providing a valuable service, there are millions of people that could potentially land on your podcast as a dedicated viewer, where you can provide them with invaluable information.
And of course, this is also incredibly valuable for any business whose target market listens to your podcasts, which leads us into what we’re talking about today; “do podcasts on Spotify make money?”
And the answer is absolutely! There are many ways that podcasts can make money, and many of them can even be combined together to be extremely lucrative. The only (obvious, but not so obvious) thing to remember is that the only way that you will make money with a podcast is if you have an audience.
If you run a podcast that either; no one wants to listen to, or no one discovers, it is nearly impossible you will make any money.
So, How do Podcasts on Spotify Make Money?
#1: Selling Their Services
This is an extremely popular way that podcasters will make money. Let’s say that you run an SEO agency and a subsequent podcast about doing SEO for local businesses.
Because you will have an audience of business owners who need what you sell, you have the ability to teach them all about it and giving them actionable advice, but also sell your own services.
How? Well, most business owners are extremely busy, you can lay everything out for them, but they may not have enough time to carry it out themselves. This is a fantastic situation where they may reach out to you wanting to work with you.
Remember, the purpose of selling is always to meet a need for other people. So, just by talking about your services and how they can use it in their business, they may see that need and reach out to you.
This will work especially well if you sell high-ticket services, such as; SEO, copywriting, video production, web design, etc.
If your average client is worth $1,000/month, and you’re running a podcast that gets an average of 1,000 listeners per episode and just a 0.1% conversion rate, you’re instantly earning an additional $1,000/month, for every podcast episode that you put out.
These numbers may not be completely realistic, but you can see how podcasting for a high-ticket service-based business can really turn into a cash cow.
#2. Sell a Physical Product
Another way podcasts can earn money is by selling physical products; whether it be merch, books, supplements, or anything else. It doesn’t take long to find popular podcasts that are utilizing this technique.
Take, for example, Yes Theory. Yes Theory is a YouTube channel that creates content about getting out of your comfort zone and doing cool stuff. I really recommend checking out Yes Theory, as their mantra runs hand in hand with self improvement.
I’ve personally been a Yes Theory subscriber for several years, and love their content. They recently (September 2020) started a podcast… smart guys!
Through this podcast, they are able to sell a wide assortment of physical products on their online store. From shirts, to flags, to bracelets, these guys are going to sell some merch.
Although these guys already had an audience before starting their podcast, it is still possible to grow a podcast from scratch. You just need to… say yes!
Selling physical products through your podcast will allow you to generate income through your podcast, but also build your brand awareness (if you sell branded merch).
Someone may listen to your podcast and enjoy it so much that they want to buy a shirt. Whenever this person wears their shirt in public, people may comment on their shirt and ask about what it is, where it came from, etc. This is a dream for you, free marketing!
#3. Work with Sponsors
Here’s another extremely popular method to monetizing your podcast. Take for example, that you run a podcast that discusses horses. Tips and tricks on how to take care of your horse, how to train your horse, become faster horse racer, anything about horses.
Now let’s say that you have a dedicated audience of 50,000 horse lovers that live and breathe horses. If there was a company that sells horse saddles, how valuable do you think it would be for you to just mention their company and how your audience can get in touch with them?
Sponsorships like these cost around $20 per 1,000 listeners. So, just for you to mention their brand for a quick 15 seconds before beginning your podcast episode, they’ll pay you $1,000.
These numbers will differ from industry to industry, but this is an extremely easy way to make money… Once the grunt work has been done of course.
#4. Utilizing Affiliate Marketing
Remember how we talked about selling a good or service earlier? Like selling your SEO services or merch through your podcast? That’s a fantastic idea, but what if you don’t have anything to sell?
We can utilize something called affiliate marketing, which solves this issue. If you have nothing of your own to sell, or even if you do, you can sell other people’s products or services and get a cut of all of the sales that you generate.
If you have a podcast on how guys can become higher-status, then you could partner with someone who has a high-ticket course. You send people to their sales page and get X% of the revenue that comes from your audience in the form of purchasing the course.
If you have a specific company that you’d like to become an affiliate for, go to google and type in “site:theirwebsite.com affiliates” and see if something pops up. If not, then you may need to reach out to them manually by email.
Keep in mind that selling products/services with high margins will be the best way to make money as an affiliate. If a company only makes $5 on a $15 product, then there is very little room for them to pay affiliate commissions. Here’s a great list of affiliate programs from Hubspot.
You may wonder “how can they tell if it comes from me”, and that’s a good question. If you’ve ever heard someone say “use the link company.com/mylink”—that’s affiliate marketing at work. The company can tell who bought from their link.
This is the one on this list that surprises me the most in terms of how much people are having success with it.
If you have an audience that is extremely enthusiastic, you can raise funds by offering exclusive content, exclusive experiences, and anything else you can think of. Most podcasters are doing this through Patreon.
Take a look at Tiny Meat Gang. This is a podcast ran by YouTubers Cody Ko and Noel Miller. These guys are hilarious, and they just talk about whatever they want to. Seriously, they just hang out with each other and record it. And you wouldn’t believe what they get paid to do it…
They have several patron tiers, with varying “rewards”. There are over 17,000 people who support TMG on Patreon, which totals more than $80,000 per month (as of September 2020). Of course, there will be fees associated with Patreon, but still a sizeable amount.
They upload about one episode per week, and they make $80,000+ every single month just from crowdfunding. They are also utilizing other strategies discussed—selling merch, sponsor, etc.
Again, Cody and Noel are both popular YouTubers, which is part of the reason why they were able to generate such incredible traction and generate 100’s of thousands of monthly listeners.
But Does Spotify Pay Podcasters?
Spotify does not pay individual podcasters for making podcast episodes on Spotify, except in very rare cases. For example, Joe Rogan was paid $100 million for podcasting exclusively on Spotify. But, he has millions of monthly listeners.
Podcasters typically make money through the strategies we went over today, rather than banking on Spotify paying them.
The Bottom Line
So if you were asking yourself “do podcasts on Spotify make money?”, then hopefully this has answered your question.
You should absolutely not depend on any income from Spotify themselves, but there are many incredible ways of making money through a podcast, and more importantly, a dedicated audience.
Here are a few of the ways that we discussed today;
Sell a service through your podcasting
Sell physical products
Work with sponsors
Sell other people’s goods/services through affiliate marketing
Crowdfund an income from your fans
So yes, it is absolutely possible to make an income from podcasting, but it will typically be done through income streams other than getting paid by Spotify.