How Much Can You Really Make Podcasting in 2024?

As podcasting continues to grow, more aspiring podcasters want to know – can you actually make money doing this? As a small business owner and entrepreneurship consultant, I‘m often asked how much podcasters really make.

The answer? Podcasting income varies wildly. While the top 1% of podcasters earn 7-figures, most indy podcasters make between $1,000-$3,000 per month.

In this in-depth guide, I‘ll break down all the ways podcasters get paid, revenue benchmarks, and factors impacting earnings so you know what to expect if you‘re thinking about starting a podcast.

Podcasting Revenue Sources

Successful podcasters utilize multiple income streams, not just one. Here are the main ways podcasters monetize their show:

Advertising and Sponsorships

This is the #1 source of income for most podcasters. Advertising rates are based on CPM (cost per thousand downloads).

  • Average CPM rates in 2024:
    • $18 for a niche or mid-tier show
    • $25 for a popular but non-celebrity podcast
    • $50+ for a top celebrity podcast like Joe Rogan

Sponsorships also follow this CPM model. A $18 CPM means a podcaster earns $18 for every 1,000 downloads on a sponsored episode.

To hit a $50,000/year income from sponsorships alone, a podcaster would need approximately:

  • 500,000 downloads per month at a $18 CPM
  • 200,000 downloads per month at a $50 CPM

Affiliate Marketing

Podcasters can earn commissions promoting relevant products and services. Average affiliate commissions are 5-15%.

Niche podcasts aligned with affiliate offers (a photography podcast promoting camera gear for example) tend to do particularly well with affiliate income.

Direct Support

Platforms like Patreon allow listeners to donate directly to support the show. At popular shows, top "super fans" may donate $50-$100 per month.

Product Sales

Podcasters can sell digital products like online courses, ebooks, and coaching. These information products have high profit margins.

Merchandise sales are also common, anything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. Margins range from 15-40% on merch.

Live Events

Hosting live podcast events or getting speaking gigs can be lucrative. Top podcasters can earn anywhere from $5,000-$100,000 for an appearance.

Key Factors That Determine Podcasting Income

All podcasters are not created equal when it comes to earning potential. Here are the key factors impacting a show‘s profitability:

  • Audience Size: The main revenue driver. More listeners = higher ad rates and affiliate/product potential.
  • Production Value: A high-quality, polished podcast attracts bigger sponsors and ad deals. But also costs more to produce.
  • Release Consistency: Frequent, consistent episodes keep listeners engaged. Sporadic release schedules hurt growth.
  • Business Savvy: Podcasting is a real media business. You need marketing, sales, and business chops to maximize income.
  • Industry/Niche: Some verticals like finance have avid advertiser interest. Others offer little monetization potential.

Podcast Advertising Rate Benchmarks

To give you an idea of typical ad rates, here are industry benchmarks for podcast advertising in 2024 based on show size:

Downloads Per Episode Advertising Rate Per Episode
10,000 $150 – $300
50,000 $800 – $1,500
100,000 $2,000 – $4,000
500,000 $7,500 – $12,000
1,000,000+ $15,000 – $25,000+

As you can see, podcast ad rates climb quickly once you start getting over 100k downloads per episode.

How Much Can You Make Podcasting? Income Benchmarks

So how much can you realistically expect to earn from your podcast? Here are income benchmarks to set your expectations:

  • Part-Time Effort (~5 hours/week): $1,000 – $3,000 per month
  • Full-Time Effort: $10,000 – $30,000 per month
  • Top Tier Shows: $30,000 – $100,000+ per month
  • Celebrity Podcasts: Over $100,000 per episode

A new or part-time podcaster can make supplemental income in the low thousands per month. But it takes substantial effort and audience size to turn podcasting into a lucrative full-time business.

However, for those willing to put in the hard work of consistently producing excellent content, relentlessly promoting, and monetizing the opportunity – podcasting can be extremely profitable.

The Bottom Line

So can you make money podcasting in 2024? Absolutely. Top podcasters easily earn 7-figures annually. But building a profitable podcast takes time.

Focus on value-driven content, growing your audience, and diversifying income streams. With a strategic, business-focused mindset, you can eventually turn your passion into a high earning podcasting career.