How Do Podcasters Make Money Without Ads?


Film producer Scott Alexander once said, “Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have beautifully.” But did he ever think about making money with his favorite hobby? Podcast hosting can be a fun pastime—and monetizing it can make it even more exciting. As the industry expands, taking the mic to tell stories, investigate criminal cases, and interview others becomes a promising activity.

Gen Z podcast listeners, youngsters born between 1996 and 2010, grew by 62% between the early months of 2021 and 2022. With young people enthusiastically listening, the opportunities are unlimited for exploring topics and garnering a dedicated fanbase for years to come.

Making a profit out of podcasting is also increasing, and the community is ensuring it. As Disctopia developed, we also became a part of the Podcast 2.0 Namespace, which protects your content from being pirated and includes a direct donations link displaying on your podcast metadata. This makes funding a possibility for everyone on the platform.

So, if you’re currently wondering how to monetize a podcast as your listener charts keep going up, let’s explore three ways you can do it without ads.

Leverage the Value 4 Value Approach

In recent years, the Podcast 2.0 movement is ensuring creators get their fair share of profits by building spaces for their podcasts to thrive outside the big streaming platforms. One of its initiatives is the Value 4 Value (V4V) model, which allows listeners to stream value for the content they enjoy and motivates creators to produce quality episodes that resonate with the audience.

Moreover, V4V enables podcasters to receive direct donations via cryptocurrency wallets, allowing for safe and unaltered (international) payments from fans. This model also levels the playing field, allowing everyone to participate in the global online economy as a consumer and seller of digital content.

For example, Disctopia’s podcast monetization platform lets users link their new or existing Bitcoin wallets via Alby, an in-browser extension. In the long term, we’re embedding the Alby wallet payment API to show account balances and other in-app features directly on creators’ dashboards. We’re also enabling this option in our mobile app.

Sell Merchandise To Increase Revenue

Once podcast hosting starts going well for you and it gains traction, you’ll notice how people will want to wear your catchphrases on a shirt, pins, stickers, or tote bags—you name it. Making merch and selling it at an affordable price is a new revenue stream that also helps strengthen your fanbase.

Today, podcast hosts can easily contact companies such as Printful to order customized items online. It’s important to understand what your audience wants, so ask them on socials if they’d be interested in mugs, hats, or just stickers and pins.

You can also think outside the box and evoke sensations in your fans with something like candles—for example, the Preppy Podcast and their candle that “smells like prep”.

Although merch might not beat the income from direct donations or ad revenue, it’s a good way for fans to engage with your podcast in a new way and expose your brand to more people. Disctopia offers an in-app merch section, so you don’t have to outsource and sell it on a different website—you can do it all in one seamless place.

Use Analytics To Improve Your Content

Knowing your audience and what they like is also knowing where the money is. Running analytics isn’t a direct revenue stream, but paying close attention to them will help you improve your content and get you a bigger following. 

When choosing your podcast hosting platform, make sure it includes analytics to inform who your listeners are and what they look for the most in your podcast. If you talk about fashion, perhaps your red carpet rants and fashion week coverage episodes are what they listen to the most. And shifting your focus in that direction can grow your listenership and keep current listeners hooked.

While you gain a solid fan base and settle on what your content should focus on, keeping your content ad-free will give you the liberty to explore topics and lead your podcast your way. Disctopia delivers real-time analytics with our True Play deep reporting feature, so knowing your fans’ preferences with accurate and updated information is easier. 

To find out more about Disctopia’s features and its advantages for indie podcasters, visit our plans for creators here.