Do Podcast Guests Get Paid?

So many podcasts have an interview that I sometimes wonder how they find all their guests.

Do podcast guests get paid when they give an interview? Or are they doing it out of sheer goodwill?

In most cases, podcast guests, even high-profile guests, aren't paid for their time. But occasionally, that's not the case, and vast amounts of money change hands. Read on to find out more.

Why don't podcast hosts typically pay guests?

Most podcast interviews are mutually beneficial exchanges between guests and hosts. While there may not be monetary compensation, there are plenty of other benefits to be had.

Podcast guest and podcast host

Benefits for podcast hosts

Provides great content

Hosts benefit from having guests on their show because of the expertise each guest brings to the listeners. If the host asks good questions, the interview provides their audience with interesting and often educational content.


Interviewing guests helps the host build a solid network of contacts within their niche and builds their reputation. When the guest has a good experience on your podcast, they pass the word on to others in their industry, and others are more likely to accept invitations to be on your show. Experts may apply to be interviewed on your podcast when they hear that others from their field have benefited from their appearances.

Builds credibility for your podcast brand

Having expert guests also builds the podcast's brand. Listeners come to expect a specific formula and interview style and look forward to hearing from the guests in each new episode.

For example, in each You're Dead To Me episode, host Greg Jenner (of Horrible Histories fame) brings together a comedian and historian to discuss a historical event or person. The historian brings credibility and education, while the comedian reinforces the learning through comedy.

Benefits for guests

Interviewees get many intangible benefits from their guest appearances; that's why they're so eager to participate.

Build reputation and authority

Podcasting exposure builds the guest's credibility within their industry because it showcases their knowledge, expertise and experience. Another bonus is that other podcasts may reach out to them after hearing an interview, further boosting their standing as they become known as experts.

Attract customers

People often seek to be podcast guests when they're on a publicity drive to promote their latest book, product, course or service.

Podcast listener making a purchase

Have you ever noticed how you'll suddenly hear several different podcasts interviewing the same person within a few weeks of each other? That guest is probably on a podcast tour. Instead of paying for advertising, they're getting exposure to their niche's audience to generate leads in return for offering valuable information to that audience.

Interviews let sellers explain what their book or product offers and how it can help that audience in far more depth than a 30-second ad allows. Appearing on several shows increases the likelihood that listeners will hear them interviewed more than once, which, in turn, increases the chance that they'll buy or at least sign up for more information.

Grow the show

Appearing on another podcast builds brand awareness amongst their target audience. Listeners like what they hear during the interview and download the guest's podcast. Hopefully, they'll subscribe and grow the audience. Eventually, growing the show leads to more product sales, e.g., courses, live show ticket sales, merchandise etc.

Finally, popular shows attract more sponsors and earn more advertising revenue.

Need some help? For more information, check out How to Get Booked on Podcasts and the Ultimate Guide to Podcast Cross Promotion.

Some podcast guests are paying big bucks

Podcasters shaking hands

According to Bloomberg columnist Ashley Carman, a few big podcasts are actually making money from their guests. So, rather than being paid, guests offer payment for the privilege and exposure they get from being on a massive podcast.

Human Upgrade host Dave Asprey told Bloomberg he charges about 1% of guests on his show, but those payments are steep - up to $50,000. And The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast charges guests between $20,000 and $40,000 for an appearance on the podcast.

Considering the number of podcasts worldwide (3 million and counting), these massive payments are sporadic. Guests must be sure of a terrific ROI to pay that much.

Occasionally smaller shows will request payment

During our research, we found that some smaller podcasts (<10k listeners) were requesting money for guest appearances. The ones we found cost no more than a few hundred dollars at most.

One important consideration: if you're planning to charge guests an appearance fee, you should disclose the fact because it could erode trust with your audience if you feature a paying guest without adding a disclaimer.

Final words

It would seem that very few (if any) podcast guests get paid to appear on podcasts. Occasionally, guests may actually pay to be on popular podcasts. In those cases, guests have decided that the ROI in terms of exposure is worth the cost.

However, the general rule is that most podcast guests appear for free. Each party is more than happy with the mutual benefits to their podcast and business and sees no need for money to change hands.

Are you planning to be a podcast guest? Or are you wondering where to find suitable podcasts in your industry or niche? We recommend trying Rephonic. You'll find shows that match your business end goal and get the info and contacts you need to pitch podcasts at scale.

Get started with a free trial, and start talking to the best podcasters for your business.

Lyn McNamee

Lyn McNamee

Writer at Rephonic

Find, pitch and get featured on podcasts

Rephonic gives you listener numbers, contacts, demographics and more across 2.5m+ podcasts.

Lyn McNamee

Lyn McNamee

Writer at Rephonic

Find, pitch and get
featured on podcasts

Rephonic gives you listener numbers, contacts, demographics and more across 2.5m+ podcasts.