How Much Does It Really Cost to Start a Podcast?

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I’ve just passed the 2 month mark with my podcast, which I know isn’t anything to crack open a bottle of champagne for quite yet. Still, it’s pretty cool that back in the spring this podcast was just an idea I had and now it’s a full fledged show with guests, reviews and almost 10,000 downloads!

What I love about this podcast is it’s given me a reason to reach out to people who I might not have been able to before and ask them to share their stories with me (and you!). It’s incredibly fun and fulfilling, but what I didn’t know was how much it would really cost to start a podcast — especially when comparing it to starting a blog.

You see, I started up this blog almost 4 years ago for about $15. All I bought was a domain name, then I hosted my blog on Tumblr (free) and had my sister design my website (also free).

Podcast Hosting

As I learned more about blogging and I started gaining more readers, I decided to go self-hosted ($350 for 3 years) and bought two new web design themes ($100 total). Other than that, there were no additional costs on my end. I do all my own web maintenance and design all of the graphics for blog posts, logos and widgets.

When I started looking into doing a podcast, the only cost that really jumped out at me was podcast hosting. I chose to use Libsyn as my podcast host, and similar to web hosting, it would only cost me $5/month. That didn’t seem that bad, so I included that in my budget.

It didn’t stop there though. I quickly realized that I couldn’t stick with the $5/month hosting plan because it didn’t include in-depth analytics. So, I upgraded to the $20/month plan. A big jump from $5/month, but I knew it would be worth it in the long run.

Once the podcast was launched, I also put it up on SoundCloud to give listeners a variety of platforms to choose from. The thing with SoundCloud is it’s only free up to a certain minute limit. Since my podcasts are about 30 minutes each, after episode 5 I couldn’t upload anything else for free. So, I pulled out my credit card and paid for a yearly unlimited subscription ($90).

Cost

$20/month for Libsyn, $90/year for SoundCloud.

File Tagging & Skype Recording

After doing a bit more research, I also learned that it was important to tag all of my podcast audio files with the episode title, description and other important information. The ID3 Editor software I needed to do that cost me $20, and the Ecamm Call Recorder software I use to record Skype interviews cost me another $30.

Cost

$20 total for ID3 Editor, $30 total for Ecamm Call Recorder.

Podcast Domain Name

I also wanted to claim the term “Mo’ Money Podcast,” so I bought that domain name through Hostgator to as the domain for podcast RSS feed another $15/year.

Cost

$15/year through Hostgator.

Recording Equipment

In order to actually record my podcast, I needed to invest in some gear. My husband was all too happy to help me with that task, and since he’s an audio engineer I couldn’t really cheap out on anything. Because I do have guests come to my house to record episodes once in while, I couldn’t just buy a USB microphone like a lot of other podcasters use.

So, I ended up buying two mic stands, two dynamic mics, a stereo recording audio interface and two mic cables. I’m sure I could have found some of this equipment cheaper, but I bought everything new for a total of $500. Yikes, I know! That one hurt. On the plus side, I don’t have to pay someone to edit my episodes (thanks HB!).

Cost

$500 total for two dynamic mics, two mic stands, a recording interface and two mic cables.

Podcast Promotion

Besides all of that, I really wanted to get people interested in my podcast before it officially launched. I actually released my podcast in late May on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud and didn’t tell anyone to see if anyone would just find it and listen to it on their own.

Well…they didn’t. I got maybe 20o downloads in that short period of time, which made it clear to me I needed to do something special to spread the word.

I emailed all of the personal finance bloggers I knew and asked them to help promote my podcast and in exchange I’d promote a social media account or newsletter list of theirs through a contest. It ended up being well worth the time and effort because I’ve got a fairly large and loyal listener base now, but it did cost me $265 to pay for all of the prizing.

Side by side, what has the blog cost me and what has the podcast cost me?

Cost

$265 total for contest prizing.

How Much It Cost to Start a Blog (Over a 3-Year Period)

Domain name = $60

Web hosting = $350

Web design themes = $100

Total cost = $510

How Much It Cost to Start a Podcast (So Far)

Podcast hosting = $310

SoundCloud subscription = $90

Podcast tag editor software = $20

Call recorder software = $30

MoMoneyPodcast.com domain name = $15

Podcast microphone and equipment = $500

Podcast launch promotion contest prizing = $265

Total cost = $1,230

But the crazy thing is, it didn’t just cost me $1,230 to start a podcast. If I didn’t already have this blog, I would have also needed to buy a domain name, web design theme and web hosting, so it would have been more like $1,411.

And let’s not even get into how many hours it takes me to complete an episode from start to finish. My hourly rate would probably be like $2.50/hour at this point. Not to mention all the free labour I get from my wonderful audio engineer husband who mixes every episode out of the kindness of his heart!

Although I wasn’t planning on dropping over 1K this year by starting a podcast, I have been able to pay for it with some advertising and freelancing money. I hope that the more popular my podcast gets, more opportunities to monetize it will also come along.

Right now it’s just a very expensive hobby, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’ll be another money making side project soon enough.

Disclosure: Nothing on my website or affiliated channels should be considered advice or an endorsement, and some content may include affiliate links in which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer to learn more.
Showing 10 comments
  • Melissa
    Reply

    Whoa! So basically what you’re saying is if you want to start a podcast, you better be in it to win it, because it’s not as cheap as starting a blog? I already thought making podcasts was hard, but now you’ve just confirmed it’s hard and not cheap. Think I’ll be staying away from creating my own podcast for a while, haha 🙂 Congrats on your hard work and awesome number of downloads!! The podcast is terrific 🙂

  • Bridget
    Reply

    Income-generating products cost more. It cost me less than $1,000/yr to run a blog but since incorporating + delivering a course, it costs me at least $5,000/yr. It’s worth it. Anything that increases your visibility and drives revenue is worth it. Most people don’t succeed at making money online because they don’t scale up. If you treat your website as a business, it performs as one. Best thing you can do is put money into it and yourself — the rewards keep coming.

  • Emily @ evolvingPF
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing this breakdown! I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a podcast – we already have decent audio equipment – but I didn’t realize there would be so many costs to get it to other people. I will definitely want to commit to podcasting before dropping $1k-ish.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Podcasting is definitely a commitment, more so than blogging I’d say.

  • Danielle
    Reply

    The economics of podcasting, I like it!

  • Taylor
    Reply

    I thought about doing a podcast and it looks like doing it right will cost little more than I’m willing to spend. I dabbled in youtube and quickly realized the right tools are 100% necessary to make a quality product lol.

    I really appreciate the growing number of bloggers turning to podcasting. Although I love reading blogs it’s fun to connect with a voice.

  • Life we learn
    Reply

    Hi Jess,
    As long as you enjoy doing the podcasts that is the main thing. Most hobbies cost money and we do it for the fun of it, so you don’t necessarily have to recoup the money you have spent. Just remember to have fun above anything else.
    You podcast is great too by the way! I tune in every week. You are doing a fantastic job 🙂

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