So You Want To Start A Premium Podcast… (Patreon and Other Alternatives)

One of the ways you can make money with your podcast is to have a “Premium” version of your show (some call this crowdfunding). This often can be:

  • Ad-free versions of your episodes
  • Bonus Episodes (i.e. a slightly longer version of an interview or content that is no longer available for free)

Before You Start a Premium Podcast Offering: Things You Should Know

IProfit From Your Podcastn doing research for my book Profit From Your Podcast: Proven Strategies To Turn Listeners Into a Livelihood, I found that when it comes to your audience taking action, you can count on three percent (if you're good). I heard an episode of Radiolab (a VERY popular show), and they were doing a fundraising episode trying to get up to one percent. When I interviewed Mellisa Guller back on episode 792, she explained how Teachable (a course creation tool) typically quotes two percent of people who will take action.

This doesn't mean crowdfunding doesn't work. There are people making six figures A MONTH, but they've been podcasting for six to ten years.

Does this mean you shouldn't try this when you first start a podcast? It means you need to go in with realistic expectations. I would recommend focusing on growing your audience first before trying to monetize.

You also need to realize that if you promise content on (for example) a monthly basis, you need to do that if you want to keep your paying listeners. You will end up with emails like, ”

Hi! Do you mind refunding my subscription for Sept and Oct? You haven't put out any content for a few months now.”

Resources For Creating a Premium Podcast

When you decide you want to try this strategy, here are some options.


Supercast charges .59 per person per month (plus stripe fees). So, if you don't have any subscribers, you pay nothing. They have a two-tap subscribe option (so fewer “I can't get the content” emails from your audience). They also integrate with Zapier.


Patreon is the most known in this space to the point where people describe crowdfunding as “a Patreon thing.” So if I were to explain Supercast, I might say, “It's a Patreon thing only better.” Patreon takes 8%. I have a Patreon account (as they were the only option back then), and the thing they need to fix is allowing your listeners the ability to consume your content outside of their app and website. So if someone wants to listen in Apple Podcasts, you must instruct your audience how to copy and paste a feed into their favorite app.

While they have first movers advantage, with new tools coming on board on a regular basis, they need to up their game.

Hello Audio

Hello Audio prices start at $17 a month. They have the ability to “drip” episodes. So if someone signs up today, you can have them get a new episode on a schedule (where typical RSS you get everything in the feed). Think of it like an email autoresponder but with audio. They will convert video to audio and have a Zapier integration. So if you're making over 28 subscribers on Supercast, (at .59 a subscriber), it would be cheaper to use Hello Audio.


Soundwise is meant for premium podcasts. If you're looking for a platform with no limits, this is the one. You can have unlimited shows, episodes, and listeners. They also have coupons, free trials, and more. You can build a community. It's the cheapest way to build your own audio app without building your own audio app. Pricing starts at $59/month (less if paid yearly).


Buzzspout is a podcast media host, but part of their hosting is the ability to mark some of your episodes as premium using Buzzsprout subscriptions. This enables you to set up recurring payments where you specify an amount (but your listener can choose to give more), or you can choose to offer premium content (and they are then prompted to click their favorite app to listen). Buzzsprout takes 15% to cover all the credit card and processing fees.


Captivate is also a media host that has a premium offering. You can set up donations as well as premium content. You can set up multiple tiers and limit the number of people who can purchase a tier. They charge 12% plus processing fees. You can set up episodes to become premium based on time (to make them premium automatically). You can click on a link to subscribe in Apple or copy and paste the link into your favorite app.


Fanlist is a podcast interaction tool. Primarily used to receive voicemails, you can have sponsors for your page, accept donations, and have private podcasts/memberships. It is free to use, and they take 7% (plus the 2.9% + .3 for processing).


Transistor is a podcast host that can host a private podcast. On the $19/month plan, you can have up to 50 subscribers.

What About Apple?

Apple takes a larger percentage and doesn't give you any information about your customers (because they aren't your customers; they are Apple's ). There is also no Android option to listen to a premium Apple subscription. We keep thinking they will make one, but there isn't even a rumor.

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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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