Is Your Podcast a Business?

If you are a fellow podcast host, you may wonder: is my podcast a business? Whether you’re only considering launching a podcast for the first time or you have had a podcast for a while now, the answer is YES. 

A podcast is a business. It’s a business offering, whether you “just have a podcast” or your podcast is one of many product and service offerings. Either way, your podcast has both potential liabilities and the opportunity to create revenue, just like any other “business.” A podcast is ripe with intellectual property concerns, including a brand that you should consider owning with a registered trademark. 

Let’s talk about a few things that you need to consider when running a podcast business.

Ownership of Your Podcast Business

When it comes to ownership of your podcast, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Are you the only person hosting the podcast? If so, it’s a bit easier because when you have a co-host(s), there are intellectual property concerns that need to be documented.

Some of these concerns include:

  • Can either of the hosts use the content individually? 
  • What happens when you no longer decide to continue to host this podcast together? 
  • Who gets to keep the following (the podcast account)? 
  • Who gets to use the content? 
  • Will the podcast be deleted, or will it be hosted perpetually? 
  • Who will pay for the fees? 

These are excellent questions to consider if you’re considering doing a co-host style podcast. 

Podcasts and Monetization

Your intention behind your podcast may not be monetization, it may be lead generation or the opportunity to interview really incredible guests. Whatever your intention, your investment of time and resources to record, schedule guests, edit, publish, and promote your podcast are each business business activities (especially if you have hired an independent contractor to produce your podcast). For this reason your first step to a strong legal foundation is to file a limited liability company or have your podcast owned by an existing (related) LLC. 

Podcasts and Disclaimers

Next, I want to talk to you about disclaimers. You know I love a good disclaimer. In fact, we’ve talked disclaimers in Episode 83 of the podcast. Much like the disclaimer at the start of my podcast episodes, you should consider using disclaimers specific to the type of content that you are providing, because more often than you think there is liability associated with the content that you’re sharing and disclaimers provide the context to keep you properly protected for misguided expectations by your audience.

Education and Entertainment Purposes

This podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. While I am not a medical, legal, or financial professional, if any of my guests are, they are not acting in any professional capacity. None of the information or resources shared during this episode should be construed as medical, legal, or financial advice.

Content Warming

This podcast may contain discussion of {trigger}, so please take appropriate steps to protect your mental health and expectations. 

Podcasts and Trademarks

Falling in love with the name of your podcast, creating cover art, and investing in launching your podcast is a big financial (and energetic) investment. Maybe your podcast is the first offering of a larger brand vision, or maybe this is an extension of an existing brand. 

Like I always say, I want you to own your brand with a registered trademark. 

Tip: Complete your comprehensive trademark search before launching your podcast, so you have the peace of mind of knowing of an informed decision. This will allow you to coordinate submitting your trademark application with your podcast launch.

Podcasts and Intellectual Property

Last but not least, you should consider all the intellectual property that fuels your podcast. Hint almost all of your podcast content is protected by copyright (including the content your guest shares during their interview). However there are layers of intellectual property related to your guest, most of which are what we call “rights of publicity” 

The right of publicity protects against the misappropriation of a person’s individual’s name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one’s persona (someone’s voice, bio, or headshot). This right gives everyone the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.

What does this mean for your podcast? You need permission to promote and publish the podcast episode. The best way to do this is in a Podcast Guest Release! 

Now I want to assure you, the reason for having a guest release isn’t a lack of trust. It’s to set clear expectations and ensure that you have the rights to use the content you’re investing your time, energy, and resources into creating. 

Specifically, a Podcast Guest Release sets the following expectations:  

  1. How they should prepare for the podcast interview.
  2. If you plan to use video and audio, or just audio. 
  3. Permission to promote the podcast episode, including the use of their name and headshot (maybe even audio clip).
  4. Understanding that you do not need your guest’s approval on the final edit of the podcast episode before airing. 
  5. The interview cannot infringe on the rights of a third party’s intellectual property rights

TIP: You can hyperlink your Podcast Guest Release into your invitation to record or schule (our is on in our email invite to record and on our Calendly scheduling page). All the protection, no additional burden.  

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Is Your Podcast a Business?

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