Start a Podcast Membership in 2022: Earn Recurring Revenue

Generally speaking, podcasts are free audio resources for everyone and anyone to enjoy. This is the most common way people run their podcasts, but have you considered starting a podcast membership? 

Providing a free podcast and running a membership podcast are NOT mutually exclusive. You can run them both at the same time. But first:

What is a membership podcast?

A membership podcast is similar to that of a private podcast. The podcast episodes are not available for the general public, but members can subscribe to listen. It is one of the many ways you can monetize your podcast.

You can charge a minimal subscription fee for people to become a member. This subscription fee, usually recurring monthly, may vary in price range depending on your podcast popularity, value, and other types of perks the subscription entails.

Can I run a podcast membership AND a free podcast at the same time?

Running a free podcast and a membership podcast are two NON-EXCLUSIVE things. That means you can have both at the same time. 

Many podcasters publish regular free podcast episodes. In these episodes, there are segments that are not available for the general public, but can be listened to by podcast members.

Alternatively, you can also consider making a second podcast separate from your main (free) public podcast. This could work if your podcast hosting platform supports multiple podcasts, such as the case with Firstory.

Pros and benefits of a podcast membership

Recurring, consistent podcast income.

A podcast membership offers a more stable source of income for your podcast over other types of monetization such as one-time donations and a contracted advertisement or sponsorship. With a podcast membership, you will know exactly how much you will be receiving every month. That means you’ll also know how much effort and resources to invest into your show.

If you can successfully launch your membership podcast, this can even become a full-time source of income.

Direct audience connection and mailing list.

With a podcast membership, you are able to directly communicate and interact with your audience (sometimes even generate your own email list). With this, you can easily advertise to a pool of subscribing listeners, gain immediate podcast feedback,  and disseminate information. If they’re willing to pay for membership, they’re also more likely to support your other gigs, events, products, and activities.

Low to no cost to start.

Some podcast membership systems are paid or would require a minimal fee. However, there are also a lot of free options available for you (most are free or freemium). Examples of membership systems you can use are Patreon and Memberful.

If you’d like an all-in-one podcast solution for you to manage our show AND podcast membership, you can also choose to use Firstory’s built-in monetization and podcast membership system. That’s podcast hosting, CRM, promotion, and monetization all in one single platform.

The benefits of using a system instead of simply posting your bank account number to the public is having a platform that helps you collect, settle taxation matters, protect your personal info, and integrate with your other tools and platforms. They usually vary in user experience, interface, supported payment systems, and commission or service fees.

You’re already making the content anyway.

Starting a podcast membership entails very little to no extra non-monetary resource like time and effort. You’re already making your quality content anyway; all you have to do is identify the special parts that are unique or valuable. You can choose to limit these segments as premium content. Chances are, you just have execute minimal effort to separate this content from the your free public podcast and put it up your premium podcast membership.

Cons and disadvantages of a podcast membership

Competition and differentiation.

There are a lot of free resources out there, whether in the form of podcasts or something else. If there’s nothing unique that differentiates your content from others’ or your podcast competes in a saturated niche, it may be difficult for you to convince people to pay for your exclusive content.

Consistency and pressure.

If you promised weekly premium content, you better deliver. This means you’ll always be under the pressure of coming up with good, quality materials that are worth the value people are paying. You’ve got to make sure that you’re not too busy to create the promised content.


You’ve got to drive and maintain interaction with your members or community. This can be a challenge if you’re not a naturally sociable person.

Start a podcast membership

Are you ready to start a podcast membership and monetize exclusive podcast content?

Firstory is about to launch the built-in monetization and membership system. It is currently only available to certain regions, but it will be launched globally soon this year (2022). With it, you can:

  • Receive one-time donation (and tips) from listeners
  • Receive recurring subscription (membership fees)
  • Generate a mailing list for your promotions
  • View your top supporters on the leaderboard
  • Integrate it with your podcast tools on Firstory Studio

Sign up for a Free Firstory account now to be one of the firsts to use this tool: