Do Podcasters Get What They Pay For?

Podcasters WalletAt the last New Media Expo there were some booths that I didn’t think fit the event (although some might say a teeth whitening booth fits video podcasters). As I scour the Internet and forums looking for podcast related content, I’m always amazed at how people will go the extra, extra, extra mile to try and do podcasting for free. If only they put that kind of effort into their content.

I’m guilty.

When I went to the previous New Media Expos I didn’t buy anything. I was already hosting with and One year I did come home and purchase Boss Jock Studio (an app that lets you create podcasts with your iOs device). But now I sit here and say, “Where are all the sponsors from last year?” Well if their trip to the conference netted them no new customers why would they come back?

For the most part we are frugal (myself included). This makes sense as not everyone is making money with their podcast (but that’s a whole other discussion). I’ve always said we pay with two types of currency. We either pay in time, or money.

How much is your time worth? Here is an example. just released a desktop version of their software. This software will beat your horrible audio into shape (it does more than the Levelator software). It is super easy and that is why I love their service. The only complaint is when I use their free web based version it takes a fair amount of time to upload an hour long wav file. It takes a while to process an hour long wav file, and naturally it takes time to download it once its finished. Free takes more time. If it takes an hour a week (I’m guessing)  that is four hours a month (if you publish weekly) that you could save if you purchased the desktop version.

If I purchase their desktop option (available on both Mac and PC) it should eliminate the upload/download time. I don’t have this software (yet) but plan on purchasing it in the future. It’s $69. While I get software for my purchase, what I’m really getting is time. I get back (for example) four hours a month, or 48 hours a year. That boils down to $1.43 an hour. People in the forum spoke of $69 like it was $6900.

With more time, you can create better content. With better content you can attract a bigger audience. With a bigger audience you can attract a sponsor. However, we are missing the big picture and looking only as far as our wallets.

What is your time worth to you? What is your time worth to your family? Your kids? What would your sons and daughters think if they said, “Dad if you come spend an hour with us we will pay you $1.43,” and you said, “It’s too expensive.”

Remember How about These were both free podcast media services. How about or Both of these media services kicked out their audio podcasters who were getting bandwidth for free. Free is not a good business model. The bad news is Podango had a great dynamic advertising insertion tool that went down with the ship. I begged to let me pay them for using their service. Now a great tool sits at the bottom of lake Podfade.

Now I realize for some of you, times are tough. Times can be very, very tough. If that is the case, why are you podcasting? If I had to worry about how I was paying my electric bill, I wouldn’t go out golfing (at $25+ an outing). Why would you spend money on another hobby like podcasting? Go buy a Dave Ramsey book and get your finances in order (or listen to Steve at Don’t get blinded by illusions of grandeur and thoughts of becoming famous. Remember, we all start with zero listeners, and getting an audience big enough to monetize takes time. Do not get into podcast for the sole reason of making money.

If podcasters want better, innovative, life-changing technology to come into our space, we are going to have to open up our wallets and reward them for taking the time to invent it. On the other side of the coin, don’t go spending $2000 on equipment either (that’s equally as stupid). Please make educated decisions (and I can help with that).

We need to support those services that support us. We need to promote those services that promote us. We need to buy from sponsors that sponsor us. We need to vote with our wallets if we want money to come our way. We must reward developers when they find tools to save us time.

Dave Jackson Personal Podcast Coach

Dave Jackson has been podcasting since April 2005, and runs the School of Podcasting. He is the author of the book More  Podcast Money, and hosts the Ask the Podcast Coach live call in show. 


6 thoughts on “Do Podcasters Get What They Pay For?

  1. I’ve been blogging for over four years and podcasting for less than two months. Yet I have spent more money in the last two months of podcasting than I spent in the entire four years of blogging.

    I heard Todd Cochrane rip podcasters on his New Media Show a couple of weeks ago for not being as willing to spend money as bloggers are. I just scratched my head.

    I have found podcasters to be folks willing to spend money, and also willing to be generous with their time and advice to newcomers (like me). You included.

    When a podcaster is considering a $69 price tag, he (or she as the case may be) is not considering it in isolation. Rather, he’s considering it as one more cost in the total equation of all the various pieces of equipment, pieces of software, hosting fees, and on and on that are constantly confronting him..

    I agree with you that “free” is not a durable business model, and I also agree with you that we should not be penny wise about money and pound foolish about time. And, in the same vein, I agree with you that we should not devalue the time and efforts of others by always expecting them to do everything for us for free. I just wanted to be sure I did not fail to stand up and say that I have found podcasters to be generous with their money as well as their time, and ask Todd to reconsider his opinion of their willingness to part with a buck.

    1. Mike,
      Thanks so much. From my chair, I see a ton of people who want to do this – not on the on cheap – but for free. Then they get upset when their frankencast of tumblr/feedburner/ crumbles or doesn’t work right. It can, but I get a lot of people who are having “emergencies” (and it pains me to see this as I DO want to help) but they started off in the wrong direction.

      I agree podcasters are very generous with their time and advice. However, I have seen an entire google group say, “Don’t use X” only to have someone come back in two weeks saying, “I’m using X and I can’t get it to work…”

  2. I chatted with Georg Holzmann, the brains behind Auphonic, and there is a difference between the online model of Auphonic and the downloadable program. Basically, the downloadable program functions as a leveler with many options and tweeks you can do to the leveling. He suggested it was much more for those who run radio or do batch jobs.

    The online version does allow the meta tagging and presets, which for me sells me on the online version. All being said, we will be seeing a freemium model for the online version of Auphonic coming down the pike.

    If you would like to hear that interview I did with Georg from Auphonic, you can find it here.

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