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How to start a podcast

May 15, 2023
Spotify for Podcasters is a free, all-in-one podcast tool that lets you publish to all major platforms and ultimately make a career out of your passion. Let us show you how to start a podcast with Spotify.

The Basics

What is a podcast?

Let’s be real. Most of us have a general understanding of what a podcast is (a collection of digital audio or video files that are made available for audiences), but as we enter the podcast world ourselves, more questions start popping up. The good news is, a podcast can be many different things—and it all depends on you, the creator. A podcast can be one person speaking into a microphone (or even their phone’s mic) alone in their apartment or podcast studio. It can be a pair of friends or a group of five. It can be serious, funny, boisterous, cerebral, quirky, sarcastic, or a little bit of everything. But in its simplest form, a podcast needs two things: an idea, and a voice to bring it to life. Plus, now that video podcasts on Spotify are available to more creators than ever, the answer to “what is a podcast?” has expanded even further.

Why should I start a podcast? 

Every voice is a podcast voice—and yes, that includes yours. Whether you want to use your voice to create, express, or build, podcasting is the perfect way to say it all. It also helps that podcasting continues to grow as a medium: More people than ever are creating audio (and now video) stories. Even if you already have a fan base from a different hustle, podcasting can help you expand your reach and connect with your audience in a deeper, more authentic way. 


How do I start a podcast?

Spotify for Podcasters is an easy way to make a podcast, so if you’re reading this, you’re already in the right place! So, look around you. Do you have a computer or smartphone to record your sound (or camera to record your video) and the same devices to edit your podcast audio or footage? If yes, you’re almost ready to start. The only thing left to do is go to or download the Spotify for Podcasters app.

Ready to jump right in? This article about starting a podcast in less than an hour can help, too. 

What is Spotify for Podcasters?

Spotify for Podcasters is an all-in-one podcasting platform. That means you can create, distribute, grow, and monetize your podcast all from our app or website, for free. Your episodes can automatically be published to Spotify—and can easily be distributed to other platforms. If you already have a podcast hosted elsewhere, you can still take advantage of Spotify's free growth tools for podcasters, like analytics and fan engagement. You can do this by claiming your show on Spotify for Podcasters. Claiming your show does not change ownership over your content or off-platform management. Get started in minutes

Why should I use Spotify for Podcasters? 

Simply put, Spotify for Podcasters is the most comprehensive tool for starting your podcast. You can use Spotify for Podcasters to create, distribute, analyze, and grow your show as well as gain access to exclusive earning tools and formats like video podcasts on Spotify. You might be wondering, is it really free? And it is—we’ve made Spotify for Podcasters free for everyone, all the time. So go ahead, focus on your content and we’ll take care of the rest. 

Planning your podcast

What should my podcast be about?

Picking a podcast topic requires you to look inward and answer a simple question: What do you love to talk about? One way to answer this question is to think about when you’re the most happy, fulfilled, or excited—and use that as a jumping-off point. You could even think about what podcasts you currently enjoy listening to, and use those for inspiration. It might also help to think about a podcast topic broad enough to cover many episodes, or perhaps even multiple seasons.

How should I pick a podcast name?

Naming your podcast can be a tricky thing, but luckily we've put together this resource to make it easier. Your podcast’s name has the potential to make your show exponentially more memorable and appealing—or not. One place to start is to imagine your ideal audience, and what would appeal to them. (Oh, and you don’t need the word “podcast” in the title.)

What equipment do I need to start a podcast?

All you need to start a podcast is the phone in your pocket. Yep, you read that right. Part of Spotify for Podcasters’ mission to democratize audio is to make podcast creation more available—and that means allowing you to record from your phone or computer, from anywhere. However, there’s also a wide variety of recording microphones available to enhance your setup. If you’re interested in exploring podcast equipment beyond your phone, we’ve put together a guide to our favorite options. 


How do I establish a brand for my podcast?

Centering your podcast around a specific brand takes time and consideration—from identifying your target audience, to finding your specific voice, to creating cover art, and more—but we’re here to help. In fact, we enlisted a few Spotify branding experts to add color to this topic. Creating your brand can feel like a huge undertaking, but it comes down to self-reflection: Get quiet before you get loud. 

How should I pick a format for my podcast?

There are several podcast formats to choose from, and it’s important to pick the right one for you. Ask yourself the following: Do I see myself podcasting solo, or with one or maybe more friends or co-hosts? Do I want to interview guests with expertise in specific areas? Do I want to talk about reality, or make up a fantastical world of my own? All of these things are worth considering, but you can dive even deeper with our complete guide to podcast formats here. And if you’re rolling the cameras, there are plenty of ways to get inspired for a unique video podcast, too. 

What is a video podcast, and should I try making one?

Video podcasts on Spotify bring the mediums of video and audio together in perfect harmony. Where available, this feature allows current video creators (or audio-only podcasters!) to expand their reach to new fans on Spotify, and deepen their connections with current fans. It’s as easy as uploading a video file via Spotify for Podcasters, and it gets published right to Spotify—then your audience can choose to watch or listen in the background, so they can enjoy your episodes wherever they go.

How do I add music to my podcast? 

Adding music to your show can elevate the listening experience. Spotify for Podcasters allows you to make a different kind of audio show with music at the forefront: Music + Talk shows combine full-length songs from the Spotify catalog and with your own audio segments. Simply select the music tool in the Spotify for Podcasters app, search for songs on Spotify, and mix in conversation by dragging and dropping your own audio files. If you love music just as much as podcasts, a Music + Talk show could take your storytelling to the next level. 

How should I prepare for my episode?

The best way to stay organized is to prepare your episodes in advance. Not only does this help guide your conversations, but it can save time during the editing process later. This usually entails writing a podcast script or outline with talking points. Need help getting started? We took the guesswork out of episode prep by writing sample outlines for you

Where should I record my podcast?

Perhaps your podcast recording location isn’t the first thing you consider, but it can make or break your episode. People record from all over—the living room, bedroom (or bed), the closet, the at-home studio—but sound quality is important. Try creating an acoustically-friendly environment free of background noise, echoes and other distractions. If you find yourself in a bind, Audio Enhancement can drown out noise and improve your vocals, even in places like a coffee shop or the back of a car. And if you’re making a video podcast, consider your visual setup as well. 

Creating your Podcast

How do I record my podcast?

You’re finally there—the moment when you’re about to record. Let’s pause and make sure you’re set up for success: Is your recording equipment set up? Devices charged? Is your script or outline where you can see it? How is your Wi-Fi connection? If you have remote guests, are they ready with a quiet space to record and good WiFi signal, too? And if you’re filming a video podcast, are your lights and cameras placed correctly? Take a moment to consider the details, then take the most important step of all: press record. 

It may also be helpful to record your episode in individual segments, then weave those segments into one seamless episode with our editing tools.  

What is a podcast trailer and what are the benefits of recording one?

The main reason to record a podcast trailer is to set your mission and intention for the rest of your show. Not only does it allow new listeners to get a quick idea of your show, but it reminds you of your creative concept. Recording a podcast trailer can help you start working with your material, introduce yourself, and hone your elevator pitch. Then, you can dive into episode one.

What’s the best way to interview podcast guests?

As our article on writing great interview questions points out, it’s a balancing act: a combination of being prepared but flexible at the same time. Once you’re sitting with a guest recording an episode, anything could happen. As a podcast host, your ability to switch gears is crucial. But of course, there are ways to increase your chances of an A-plus interview, like asking open-ended questions, following up on interesting points, and doing your research beforehand. 

How do I edit my podcast?

Podcast editing can be a challenge for many new podcasters. Luckily, you can edit your show with Spotify for Podcasters from your smartphone or desktop—but there are certainly better ways to edit than others. That’s why we chatted with two Spotify producers to explain the most important editing do’s and don’ts. They cover topics like goal-oriented editing, assembling your tools, and creative audio storytelling. Making a video podcast? We’ve got you covered with video-specific editing tips here

How can I stay consistent with my podcast?

The key to keeping your podcast consistent is to always stay one step ahead. Think about the future of your show, the topics you want to discuss, the guests you want to interview, and what a new potential listener might want to hear. Think about how to make your podcast format consistent as well. Then once you have a vision, stay on track with a podcast schedule.


How do I write podcast episode descriptions?

Get started by thinking about the essence of your episode: what keywords come to mind? These could be certain words that jump off the page and grab your attention, or they could be specifics like topics or guest names. This advice and much more—like length, optimization, and consistency—can be found in our article about writing the perfect episode description. You’ll also want to keep your SEO strategy in mind while writing a solid description. 

Publishing your Podcast

What do I need to do before I publish my episode?

You’re about to publish an episode—how exciting! But before you press that button, you’ll need a few important things: an episode title, episode description (see the previous section for advice), and episode art. At this point in your creation journey, you’ll be quite familiar with your episode content—so all that’s left to do is provide some information describing it.  

How can I get my podcast on Spotify and other platforms?

Every podcast episode created with Spotify for Podcasters is automatically published to Spotify, which currently has over 489 million active listeners. Your show will also appear on every major podcast hosting platform as well, if you choose to distribute elsewhere.

So, I published my podcast. What’s next?

Believe it or not, publication isn't the end of your podcast’s journey. With Spotify for Podcasters’ innovative tools and support on your side, each episode is a new opportunity to grow your audience, promote your show, and even monetize your content. Keep on reading to find out how. 

Growing your Podcast

How do I get my first podcast listeners?

No matter who you are, your podcast audience will start off small, and that’s okay. Every successful podcast had to start somewhere. It’s important to begin with simple goals in mind—things like getting to know yourself as a creator, getting to know your listeners, and connecting with them through avenues on social media, like TikTok or Instagram. What feels like little steps will lead to big accomplishments, like getting your first 100 listeners

Okay, I have a few listeners. How do I keep growing?

There’s a fully comprehensive guide to gaining momentum with your podcast growth right on our Resource hub—covering topics like promoting on social media, tracking your ratings, finding new global listeners using analytics, and taking advantage of interactivity tools. Try starting there, and see where it takes you. It’s also important to remember that even little steps are good steps, and small audiences can contain some of the most passionate fans on the planet. 

How do I promote my podcast?

Having social accounts dedicated to your podcast is maybe the easiest and most accessible way to promote your show—and don’t forget to cross-promote on your personal accounts as well. However, there are other ways to gain traction, like scoring press coverage. Here’s a straightforward guide to pitching your podcast to the press and beyond. Plus, don’t forget that word of mouth can be a powerful tool—you never know who might be listening, so go ahead and spread the word!


How can I interact with my listeners?

As you grow your show, you’ll want to grow a deeper connection with fans. Spotify for Podcasters has launched a number of new in-app features that make podcast interactivity feel as natural as talking to a friend. Among our favorite features:

  • Voice messages, which your listeners can use to send you audio clips that you can use in future episodes
  • Q&A and polls, which lets you ask your fans questions and add them to any episode, allowing responses directly in the Spotify app

Of course, creators are always encouraged to interact with their fans through social media in their own distinct voice and style. All of this helps listeners feel even closer to the content they already love.

How can I get friends and family involved in growing my podcast?

One way to get started is letting your friends and family into your new endeavor—help them help you! Your inner circle can support you by giving you honest feedback, submitting a review, sharing their favorite timestamp, spreading the word, and more.

How can I connect with other podcasters?

Connecting with other podcasters has become easier with the help of Spotify for Podcasters’ Facebook Community. These are safe spaces to chat with creators going through the same things you are, so take advantage of these outlets. Other ways to network could be appearing as a guest on someone else’s show, or doing a crossover episode with another podcaster. 

How do I monetize my podcast?

There are multiple ways you might monetize your podcast, both within and outside of Spotify for Podcasters. Each of those ways allows you to maintain control of your creative vision, while earning money in the process. Learn more about how you can monetize your podcast with Spotify here.


What else can I do to grow my podcast on Spotify?

There are a few ways to think about growing your show. A good place to start is Spotify’s podcast editorial team, who is always looking for passionate new creators to feature. Put yourself out there by submitting your podcast to the editorial submission form, where up-and-coming shows are featured across one of Spotify’s community destinations or in the New Releases section.

Having a podcast on Spotify is something to brag about, and luckily there’s an easy way to do it: Promo Cards will generate personalized, Spotify-branded assets for you to share with fans on social. Simply search for your podcast name, choose your favorite color, and use your promo card to spread the word. 

How do I access and use my podcast analytics?

To access your podcast analytics, log into your Spotify for Podcasters dashboard and head over to Catalog (for non-hosted users) or Analytics (for hosted users). You can also view your analytics on your phone or tablet with Spotify for Podcasters’ mobile analytics. Now that you’re looking at the data, there’s a few helpful ways to use it: things like using listener stats (age, gender, location) to inform your content, or using your most popular episodes as inspiration.

What are some other ways I can keep my listeners in mind while I create content?

No matter how much you grow, you’ll want to keep your listeners close. Now you can use Fan Study to understand your fans on Spotify through research that encompasses listener behavior and data. Checking the Fan Study page is a good reminder that you aren’t just publishing into a void—you’re building a community of real people with every new episode. Defining your target audience, and getting to know who they are, can also help rally the right folks around your podcast.   

Every podcaster, no matter who you are, had to start somewhere—overcoming obstacles, uncertainty, and creative blocks along the way. The truth is, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to telling audio or video stories. But Spotify for Podcasters is here to guide you through starting your podcast, leveling up your creative process, and growing your show. If you ever need further inspiration, our educational Resources hub is a great place to start.

Start a podcast
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