When thinking about podcasting, or getting started with the process, the all-important question eventually surfaces: how much does it cost to start a podcast?
Whether you’re strapped for cash or ready to begin with a decent amount of start-up capital, we’ll cover the general costs of podcasting for all types of budgets.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot to start a podcast. Even some of the most popular podcasts stick with the basics: a microphone, computer, and recording software. However, it’s not uncommon to invest extra money for things like marketing and improved hosting.
Here’s what to expect from our guide that answers “how much does it cost to start a podcast?”
It’s entirely possible to launch a podcast without spending hundreds of dollars.
However, there are advantages to opting for the better value items that enrich your sound and speed up the distribution process.
In this analysis, we cover costs to get started and manage the ongoing tasks of podcasting. After that, we’ll talk about the costs of your equipment, software, and services.
Take a look at our budget, best value, and professional cost roundups below. We even look into the costs for multi-host and interview podcasts.
Keep in mind that these costs are estimated based on current market pricing. We’ll share specific equipment and brands further down in the discussion.
When you asked “how much does it cost to start a podcast”, you probably assumed it would be more than $55, but you only really need four items need to start recording your voice and posting it online. You may find that improvements are necessary for the future, but it’s not uncommon to begin with a simple configuration like the one outlined below.
The microphone is your primary expense. Audio-Technica, Samson, and even AmazonBasics products have microphones that get the job done for a minimal cost. Yeti sells USB microphones that get into the $100s if you’d like to take a step up.
Many people already have computers. If you need a new computer or a faster processor with more storage, brands like HP and Acer sell laptops and desktops starting around $300.
Although people often think headphones are optional, that’s not the case for podcasting. They’re necessary for hearing your voice while speaking into the microphone or computer.
We recommend a lower-end Audio-Technica headphone set or something comparable for around $25-$50.
The best value essentials podcasting budget is for those who have a little money to utilize and the desire to make the best sound possible, even if that means purchasing a few items that aren’t necessarily required to produce a podcast.
As you move up in podcast quality, you can add a few elements to your equipment set.
Again, try to use a computer you already have or can refurbish. Otherwise, think about a desktop computer in the mid-level range, starting around $500.
Our best-value headphone recommendation includes low and mid-level Panasonic, Audio-Technica, and Tascam headphones. We’d argue that you’re better off considering a nicer set of headphones at this level, so think about those brands, or even Sennheiser, at around the $150-$200+ range.
A recorder/mixer comes in handy for leveling your audio for an improved sound. It’s also great for portability and recording multiple people at once. The Zoom products stand out. Start with the H1n and work up to the H4n or H6 if you want mixing and multi-user recording.
Image: Zoom Corp
A shock mount absorbs additional noise by adding a floating, rubberband mechanism to the microphone. The big dogs like Shure and Rode sell great shock mounts, but you can also find decent options on Amazon.
Cables are needed when you graduate from a USB mic to a condenser microphone. I’ve found that the AmazonBasics XLR cables work well.
You may not need acoustic treatment depending on your room. However, it’s often essential to cover corners and hard spots in your room to minimize echoes and make your sound cleaner. Start with cheaper acoustic foam on Amazon and think about ATS Acoustics panels if you’re getting serious.
For the most professional microphone, think about the Shure SM7B. It’s what most professional podcasters use.
The Rode Procaster serves as a less expensive option that performs just as well.
Use your current computer or spend however much you’d like to get the most RAM and storage. Apple computers, and the powerful Windows computers, get into the $2,000 range.
When asking “how much does it cost to start a podcast?” the pros will usually factor in a very nice set of headphones.
Image: Gator Frameworks
An audio interface improves upon USB mics and portable recorders, bringing together mixing, advanced levels, and sound effects.
Cables are also sold by Shure, but you can find a wide range of quality brands on Amazon and at Best Buy.
What’s interesting about podcasting is that there’s not really a one-size-fits-all approach to spending.
The reason for this is because podcast formats vary quite a bit, from political interview podcasts to storytelling shows, and one-host comedy shows to multi-friend podcasts that go on the road and skip the whole sitting in a room thing.
When it comes to on-the-road podcasting costs, you must figure in a portable recorder and items that you’re able to pack up and bring with you.
As for multi-host or interview costs, several mics, stands, headphones, and other elements are required. If you’re recording interviews in person, you’ll be responsible for all of those costs.
Therefore, we recommend taking the number of people you plan to have speaking on your podcast and multiplying costs for the following items by that number of people:
As an example, for an interview podcast with two hosts and one interviewee, three mics, headphones, and boom arms are necessary – as well as the other items on the list.
Finally, the multi-host or interview-style podcasts usually need a good mixer or a portable recorder that records several microphones at once, like the Zoom H6 recorder.
Pro tip: If you’re using a tool like Zencastr or Skype to record podcasts in virtual space, you’ll only need to purchase equipment for yourself, but you’ll want to make sure other participants, especially your fellow podcast hosts, have a decent setup too.
Upfront costs generally involve equipment and some software. The ongoing costs are usually required for services like hosting, editing, and the occasional monthly software.
Here’s what to expect:
Podcast hosting services store your audio files online. Luckily, various free podcast hosting services are available, like Anchor, Podbean, and Acast. To eliminate ads and expand your storage space, we recommend looking into paid options like BuzzSprout and Castos. You can even just upgrade from services like Anchor and Podbean.
Transcription services are not only wonderful additions for listeners who are hard of hearing, but the transcribed podcast text assists in boosting your SEO. To save money, transcribe the audio yourself with Google Docs Voice typing or Headliner. Paid options include outsourcing to a human service like GoTranscript or an AI-driven solution like Scribie or Trint.
Music and sound effects add liveliness and story-telling aspects to a podcast. You may use music for your introduction and drop in sound effects for an older radio show vibe. Many sites, like Pixabay, offer legally free music. If you’d like a premium subscription for unlimited access to music, look into Envato Elements or Storyblocks.
For podcast and episode cover art (and potentially website artwork,) we like Canva or Adobe Spark to design the artwork yourself and keep costs either low or non-existent. An alternative is to hire a freelancer or agency like PodArtwork or poke around Fiverr for a good deal.
Advertising for a podcast, if you offer a good product and have some luck, is handled by iTunes. Podcast hosting services like Anchor and Podbean also try to get the word out about the hottest podcasts. In addition to this more organic form of marketing, you have the option to spend advertising dollars on places like social media and search engines. Start with a clean design and a $5 or $10 budget through Google, Facebook, and Instagram Advertising programs. After that, refine your strategy and increase your spending if it’s working.
Voiceover services are sometimes needed to make a podcast introduction. These introductions often change based on the episode content, so it may end up being an ongoing cost. Start with Fiverr to locate highly-rated voiceover artists. You can also try searching Google for freelancers in your area.
A podcasting website isn’t necessarily required. Many big-time podcasters go without a website since iTunes and podcast hosting pages often provide somewhat of a website already. However, if you’d like to create more of a destination platform for your users – and include other pages and links to merchandise and blog posts – consider making a legitimate website. Hosting starts at around $3 per month and you can find podcast WordPress templates from SecondLine Themes or the ThemeForest marketplace.
We highly recommend against paying for editing services unless you’re rapidly scaling your podcast and making good money. It’s usually best to do it yourself or find a friend to act as your editor/producer. However, there are editing services on marketplaces like Fiverr. High-end, professional editing is also available through Podigy and Resonate Recordings.
As you can see from the product recommendations and on-going service costs, podcasting doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, podcasting is dirt cheap if you’re thrifty. Having said that, there are many audio aficionados and podcast professionals out there who want the best of the best.
Here’s what we found when it comes to how much it costs to start a podcast:
After you’ve handled the essentials, venture into the optional ongoing costs like advertising, voiceover services, a website, and editing services.
Finally, if you’re recording with multiple people in a shared space, you’ll have to multiply some costs based on how many hosts and interviewees you plan on having on the podcast.
What podcast setup are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments section below!
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