How much does it cost to start a podcast?
How much does it cost to start a podcast? It sounds like a simple question, right? It all depends on your goals, and there are great options out there for everyone! We're here to help - check out our guide. We hope it puts you on the right track to pursuing your podcasting dreams.
Podcasts are popular not just as modern-day radio shows, but as business growth tools. Numerous businesses these days are using podcasts to reach a broader audience outside of their local circles.
But whether you're a business owner or just a hobbyist who's got some exciting things to share with listeners, the question, "How much does it cost to start a podcast?" might be bouncing around your mind.
If you're a business owner, be mindful that a podcast will cost you time more than anything. Depending on how many episodes you're doing per month, a podcast can be a serious time investment.
Money-wise, it doesn't take much, if at all, to start a podcast. That's what we're going to explore in this post.
We'll be talking about the podcast process, from recording to publishing and promotion. Plus, we'll be taking into account different budget considerations for each part of the process.
Without further ado, let's get into it.
We use microphones every day, from cell phones, laptops, and even the restaurant drive-thru.
It's the component that will convert your voice into digital content, so it's quite important.
Many first-time podcasters get stuck when it comes to microphones. There is a large variety to choose from and endless amounts of information all over the internet. Moreover, many beginners can put off podcasting altogether if they don't have a decent mic.
That thought process is misplaced in our opinion, as you should start podcasting with what you have. Jump right in and get started; it's the only way to learn.
Hobby - $20
People starting a podcast for 'fun' can make-do with the built-in microphone of their laptop or smartphone.
But the sound quality won't be the greatest. Since these are typically omnidirectional microphones, they'll pick up every bit of environmental noise. From the HVAC kicking on and off to a relative using the restroom, yikes!
So for hobbyists, we recommend a microphone that comes integrated with a budget chat headset like the Logitech HS390.
It costs \$20 and has noise-cancellation built into the mic. Leaps and bounds ahead of a laptop microphone for sure.
Beginner - $50
For podcasters who're serious about the audio quality of their show but have to make do with a budget, the tried-and-tested Audio-Technica ATR1200 USB mic is an excellent choice.
This budget-priced microphone comes with both USB and XLR outputs. USB is great for podcasters who don't have the audio equipment required to drive sound through XLR output to a computer.
So if you decide to upgrade your sound equipment down the road, this microphone will be able to support it. It's a win-win for the newbie podcaster!
You don't have to worry about sound-proofing your room either, as the ATR1200 is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, meaning it prioritizes recording sound that's directly in front of it.
Let's put it this way - if your neighbor is noisy, your listeners won't have to hear about it.
Pro - $250
For podcasters who want sound quality that's a notch above the ATR1200 we mentioned above, Rode's USB Podcaster mic will do the job.
Rode is well known for creating high-quality microphones, particularly for DSLR cameras. This is their entry into the USB mic market, and we're glad they decided to give it a go.
Like ATR1200, the Podcaster is a cardioid type microphone, so it should handle noisy environments pretty well. It does not come with desk mounts, so you'll have to purchase one separately.
Rode's own PSM1 shock mount is a good option, but it's pricey. If you are looking to step up your podcasting prowess, it's a great accessory to have.
Unlike the ATR1200, the Podcaster comes with a built-in pop filter, further enhancing its sound quality in noisy environments.
This is a notch above the ATR1200 in sound quality; if you really want to provide your listeners with high-quality audio, it's worth the jump!
Pro+ - $400
For professionals who expect to have multiple guests on their podcast, microphone supporting XLR cables become necessary as a mixer will have to be employed to isolate each guest's voice while they're talking.
Not only that, but the microphones need to have excellent sound quality, so they don't pick up any unnecessary background noise.
The Shure SM7b fulfills its role as a professional vocal and musical microphone very well in this regard. It has XLR connectors, so it works with professional sound equipment.
With a frequency response of 50 to 20kHz, this mic has exceptional clarity that is good enough to be used for professional music production, so it will be great for your podcasts!
However, it is quite sensitive to background noise, so you'll need a sound-proof room to get the most out of this mic.
Please note that this mic does not support shock mounts, so you'll need a polearm or mic stand if you plan on utilizing this microphone.
- Editing Software
We're going to tackle recording software a bit differently. There are great free options that work well for hobbyists, beginners and pro podcasters alike.
So let's talk about recording software and how you, as a podcaster, can use it.
GarageBand (Mac) - Hobby, Beginner, Pro
Hobbyists and even professional podcasters who use a Mac can use this free DAW (digital audio workstation) that comes with every copy of macOS.
Many experienced podcasters use GarageBand to record their podcast since it provides all the necessary features and is pretty straightforward to use. There's no need to complicate the process if GarageBand does it so elegantly.
With GarageBand, you can have different layers of audio tracks, and you can apply effects to them on an individual basis.
For most podcasters with Macs, GarageBand is a stellar tool with ample tools and abilities.
Logic Pro (Mac) - Pro+
GarageBand users who want a bit more control over the audio should go for Logic Pro, a full-featured music production and audio program.
Its user interface is similar to GarageBand, and it can import GarageBand project files. So the transition between the two editing softwares should be pretty seamless for most users.
We recommend this for professional podcasters only, who might have a dedicated 'sound guy' on the team.
Logic Pro costs \$200.
Audacity (Windows, Mac, Linux) - Hobby, Beginner, Pro
Audacity is available on all operating systems and is hugely popular even amongst experienced podcasters.
It is open-source, so it's available completely free of cost. One downside of this is that it does have a learning curve associated with it.
Hobbyists and beginners who launch it for the first time may get overwhelmed with all the options. Trust us; there are quite a few!
But that also tells you that there are plenty of powerful features within this free sound editing program.
Adobe Audition (Windows, Mac) - Pro+
Adobe Audition is an audio suite that's designed specifically for podcast production. It is part of the Adobe Create Cloud, which includes other software like Photoshop and AfterEffects, but you can get it separately for \$20/month.
Adobe Audition has tools designed to enhance vocal clarity and offers other features such as noise suppression, compression, and an equalizer.
Audition does come with a learning curve, as it's a professional podcast editing software. Fortunately, there are plenty of free online tutorials for it, so you won't have much trouble learning anything you need to know about the software.
- Interview / Remote Recording Software
Not all podcasts are conducted in a room with the host and guest. Most podcasts happen in a remote setting.
To ensure good sound quality, we recommend using software that's built to record high-quality remote podcasts.
Zoom, FREE - Hobbyist
Zoom has a free plan that allows users to hold unlimited one-on-one meetings. It's a great tool for video calls, but you can also use it for recording podcast episodes.
There's even an option to record separate audio files for each participant.
ZenCastr, FREE - Hobbyist, Beginner, Pro
ZenCart has a free plan that allows for 8 hours of recording per month for up to 2 guests. It also includes lots of audio features such as automatic noise reduction.
The paid plan is \$20/month, which gives you access to lossless recording formats, and of course, unlimited recordings with unlimited guests.
ZenCastr is very simple to use, as it's entirely browser-based. Simply send an invite link to your guest, and they'll be able to jump on the interview with you seamlessly.
Remotely, \$18/month - Beginner, Pro
Remotely has been built from the ground up as an app for recording podcasts remotely. It features a special module that onboards your guest to ensure they're set up to record successfully.
This includes reminding them to plug in their laptop, smartphone to ensure there are no charging issues while the podcast is being recorded.
It also can schedule podcasts by sending calendar invites to your guests. It's always great to have a reminder, so no one misses your show.
It features both video and audio mode so that you can choose either depending on your podcast format.
- Podcast Hosting
New podcasters can make do with free podcast hosting with excellent results. However, there are some caveats as free podcast hosts typically can't scale if your audience is growing at a high pace.
Nearly all paid podcast hosts offer free tiers, but these are designed to lure users into the paid tiers by having locked features and limited recording hours.
We generally advise against signing up for podcast hosts like these.
Anchor - Hobby, Beginner
Anchor claims to be the only 100% free podcast hosting platform, but that can change anytime, as Spotify acquired the service in early 2019.
For the time being, it's a completely free podcast hosting service that allows you to upload unlimited amounts of podcasts.
You can also monetize your podcasts through a couple of different sources provided to you by Anchor.
Its affiliation with Spotify does increase its credibility, and it works well with Apple Podcasts, Google, and of course, Spotify.
Anchor's analytics are pretty basic but provide an acceptable level of data to analyze if your podcast is doing well.
Spreaker - Hobby, Pro, Pro+
Spreaker does provide a robust set of features for its basic tiers, but it is entirely unsuited for business use as the service includes its own ads, and you have to pay to remove them.
The good news is that it comes with audio tools that support mixers, so if you're a professional podcaster who plans on hosting multiple guests on each podcast, this is the platform for you.
They also offer unlimited bandwidth, even for the free plan.
Spreaker is interesting as anyone can use it, all the way from hobbyists to professional users. Podcasters who want an excellent podcast platform that can easily scale and grow as their audience grows will be served well by Spreaker.
Caproni - Beginner, Pro, Pro+
Caproni is a podcast host that offers a podcasting service for people who want to be as hands-off as possible when it comes to the podcasting process.
Signing up for the service allows you to consult for hardware recommendations, editing software recommendations, and they'll even create a website for your podcast.
This is really a service for businesses or beginners that are looking to launch a podcast but don't necessarily have the expertise to do it.
Sign up for Caproni and talk to support staff; they will gladly assist you in your podcasting endeavors.
- Promotional tools
Headliner App - Hobby, Beginner, Pro, Pro+
Headliner offers pricing plans that start from free, to \$12.95+ per month. This app allows you to promote your podcast on all major social media platforms in the form of videos.
The tool is easy to use, but we recommend working with a designer to get the most out of it. There are plenty of features to add visual flair to your podcast, so check out Headliner and spruce up your podcast.
So how much to start a podcast exactly?
There you have it, our complete guide to podcasting, from hardware selection, recording to publishing and promotion.
Here are brief cost estimates depending on your podcasting goals:
Podcasting Cost Estimates
- Logitech HS390 headset $20
- Audacity FREE
- Zoom / Google Meet FREE
- Audio Technica ATR1200 mic $50
- Audacity / GarageBand FREE
- Zoom / Google Meet FREE
- Shure SM7b $400
- Logic Pro for Mac ($200 one-time) OR Adobe Audition for Mac/Windows ($20/month)
- Remotely $18/month
- Headliner $12.95/month
After your initial investment be sure to keep at it, podcasting takes work. Build your audience and enjoy yourself! At Caproni.fm, we would be delighted to help you with any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out today.