Paying for the thing

If you’re into podcasts specifically or side hustles in general, I recommend subscribing to the Hot Pod newsletter. Every week, Nick Quah gives an exhaustive look at what’s happening in the world’s podzone—lately a lot of that is fretting, consternation, and speculation over paywalled and subscription-based podcasts. As a guy who has a podcast or two and runs a membership-supported daily zoning and rezoning newsletter, I find a lot worth thinking about in Nick’s emails.

This, in particular, from today’s edition, feels exceptionally familiar:

She was able to start paying the actors and production team by the third season, but despite all the work she puts into the show (each episode takes her upwards of 40 hours to produce), she didn’t draw a regular wage — pulling some money only occasionally. “Usually what would happen is at the end of the season I would kind of look at our bank account and look at the next season and think like ‘OK can I give myself a little bonus for the season’ to kind of help me pay my rent, you know,” Shippen said…Despite the popularity and success of The Bright Sessions, the production was always living hand to mouth. This matters, I think, because there’s a perception I’ve encountered a lot in my travels around podcasting that a hit show is enough to put a podcaster, even an independent one, on a sound financial footing. The Bright Sessions is unarguably a hit: critically acclaimed, with a large and loyal fanbase, and a decently-sized crowdfunder. Shippen now has a deal to write books set in the same universe for Tor Teen, as well as that spin-off that will shortly debut on Luminary. Yet she didn’t quit her data entry job until last August.