If you’re new to podcasting, you’ve probably wondered, “How much does a podcast cost?” After all, who wants to jump into a new endeavor without understanding its cost?
Honestly, this is a tough question to answer simply. There’s a wide range of potential expenses and several factors to consider. In this article, we’ll help you understand the cost of podcasting (including the individual components) and what you can do to affect that price.
If you want specific device recommendations, check out our guide on the best podcast microphones and our podcast equipment checklist.
Factors That Influence Podcast Cost
Before we get into hard figures, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a wide range of potential cost. You can spend as little or as much as you like to watch your show. How you decide where you fit within this range depends on a few factors: your goals, your audience, and your preferences.
Your podcasting goals
What kind of podcaster do you want to be? Answering this question will help you determine the different types of equipment you need, which will influence your total podcast cost.
For instance, if you intend to invite influential guests to your private podcast studio, you’ll need to spend a bit of cash creating a comfortable space. You’ll need two microphones and an audio interface to bring those tracks together. And your equipment better be good enough to capture great audio the first time because you won’t get a second chance with a guests’ time.
Furthermore, inviting well known people onto your show takes a lot of work. You’ll need to coordinate schedules and prepare a high quality interview. You could outsource these tasks, or you might outsource your editing to make room in your schedule for pre-production work.
On the other hand, you might be a traveling podcaster that likes to record audio content while you explore cities, attend events, or meet people. In this case, you wouldn’t need an elaborate podcast studio. You might decide to record content on your smartphone using a lavalier lapel mic.
As you can see, how you decide to produce content can affect you or podcast cost. So it’s important to choose your “model” early.
Your audience is another factor that can influence your podcast cost. Ultimately, you need to create a show you our audience loves. Their needs and preferences can affect your expenditures.
For instance, if your audience expects high production value, you may need to spend some cash on quality equipment. If they expect well-known guests, those guests may expect you to cover their travel expenses or compensate them for their time.
If you are an established brand, your existing audience (whom you definitely want to listen to your episodes) may have certain expectations for your podcast content. If your podcast episodes sound weak and under-produced, your brand reputation could be damaged.
Alternatively, your audience may prefer quick-and-dirty content because they find it authentic and endearing. In this case, you may only need some cheap equipment. Perhaps you could forgo editing altogether!
The last factor that influences your podcast cost is you. What type of show do you want to create? What type of podcaster do you envision yourself as quick? What will make podcasting a positive experience for you?
If it’s important to you to have rich, crystal clear or to hang out in a well-designed podcasting space, then that’s the direction you should pursue. If your podcast doesn’t sound like you’ve always imagined, you aren’t going to enjoy the experience, and you may abandon podcasting altogether.
Real Podcast Cost Figures
Let’s get into the hard numbers!
As you can imagine, different podcasters will spend vastly different amounts of money on their show. Some might spend nothing and use the tools they already have. Others might spend tens of thousands on a professional podcast studio.
First, here is your list of basic podcast necessities.
- Computer: $200 to $2,000
- Recording and editing software: Free to $200
- Microphone: $50 to $500
- Headphones: $40 to $400
Keep in mind that you may already have some of these devices. For instance, you probably have a computer and a set of headphones lying around.
While it’s possible to use the microphone that’s built into your computer, we definitely don’t advise that. Podcasting is an audio only medium, so you listeners expect to be able to hear your voice clearly.
Total cost of necessities: $290 to $3,100
Now let’s list the extras. These certainly aren’t necessary, but they are nice to have and they will elevate the product quality of your show.
- Pop filter: $15 to $50
- Audio interface: $75 to $300
- Headphone amplifier: $30 to $300
- Microphone boom/stand: $20 to $100
- Mixer: $100 to $250
- Acoustic treatment: $20 to $300
- Cables: $50 to $150
- Shock mount: $50 to $100
- Cover art: Free to $300
- Intro segment: Free to $400
- Music: Free to $200
- Podcast training: Free to $500
Total cost of extras: $360 to $2,950
Notice that many of those extras are free because you can do them yourself. You can make your own cover art and intros and outros. You can find plenty of free music and effects.
And some of those extras might not be useful at all depending on your set up. For instance, if you’re recording in a quiet place with lots of soft surfaces, acoustic treatment panels might not be very useful.
You just can’t produce a podcast without a quality podcast host. Your host is where your show lives. This is where you will store your audio files.
Your house will provide you with an RSS feed. This feed is essentially a list of links to each episode along with other important details, like your episode titles, descriptions, and your cover art.
We know what you’re thinking: “But I want my show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other apps. Don’t I have to upload my files to those platforms?”
Actually, no. Those platforms are podcast directories. You can’t store your episodes on their servers. In order to make your show available on those platforms, all you have to do is give them your RSS link and they will pull all of the data they need to display your show.
So how much is a hosting service in terms of podcast cost? Between $20 and $100/month.
Need help choosing a host? Check out our breakdown of the best podcast hosting platforms.
Marketing your show and developing your audience is another area where you can spend a lot or you could spend nothing. It all depends on how you decide to market your show and how much of the work you are willing to do yourself.
Fortunately, the most critical components of play podcast marketing strategy are free or quite cheap:
- Build a podcast website, ideally with a WordPress theme. This is free if you do it yourself and $40-$100 if you buy a premium theme. If you pay a designer or agency to do it for you, the price could be anything from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
- Submit your show to all of the podcast listening apps and directories. This is completely free. In fact, some podcast hosts will automate some of this for you.
- Publish a page on your website for each new episode. Free.
- Be extremely active on social media. Free, though you might spend $20-$40/month on a social media scheduling tool to make your workflow simpler.
- Grow an email list and nurture your subscribers regularly. $20-$50/month for a quality email marketing tool or marketing automation software.
So How Much Does a Podcast Cost?
As you can see, there’s no clear answer in regards to podcast cost. You could start a show by spending thousands of dollars. Or you could start a show by spending nothing. There are a lot of factors to consider.
Nevertheless, we recommend spending at least $200 to $400 on some basic equipment that will make your show far more enjoyable for your listeners.
One thing we want to be absolutely clear about is that you can start a podcast on any budget. You probably have the basic tools on hand already, such as a computer, headphones, and any device with a microphone.
Equipment that’s designed specifically for podcasting is helpful, and will definitely elevate the production value of your show, but none of it is necessary. Don’t let it stop you from producing your own content. It’s better to start creating now and then improve over time as you become a more comfortable podcaster or as you start generating revenue from your show. In fact, if you look at the early episodes of some popular shows, you’ll notice a difference in their production value because they started small and worked their way up.
How Much Did Your Podcast Cost?
Every podcaster’s experience is unique, so what you spent on your show probably won’t be the same as the next podcaster. How much did podcasting cost for you? Let us know in the comments.