From scripting to voice generation, AI tools promise a revolution in content creation. But how far can they go in replacing or enhancing the human touch in podcasting? Can AI really weave compelling podcast narratives, or will it strip the medium of its human essence? Let’s dive into this fascinating interplay of technology and storytelling.
Podcasting market overview
Podcasting experienced a golden era during the pandemic, emerging as a major success story. However, this boom faced a downturn post-pandemic, with podcast creation estimated to have fallen by 80% between 2020 and 2022.
Despite this, in 2022, 62% of US consumers reported listening to audio podcasts, a significant jump from 57% in the previous year. The total number of podcasts in the index still stands at a staggering 4,310,048 at the moment of writing this article. These numbers paint a picture of a medium that has firmly embedded itself into the fabric of modern media consumption.
On the financial front, the industry's revenue trajectory is nothing short of impressive. Podcast revenue broke the $1 billion mark in 2021, soaring to nearly $1.5 billion, a more than 70% increase from the previous year. Forecasts for 2023 and 2024 predict revenues hitting $2 billion and doubling thereafter, signifying a lucrative future for the medium. Additionally, the anticipated rise in listenership to 500 million by 2024 further highlights the medium's growing appeal and market potential.
The financial success stories within the podcasting world are numerous. High-profile deals, such as Joe Rogan's move to Spotify, valued at over $200 million, exemplify the earning potential in this sphere. Moreover, platforms like Patreon enable your ordinary creators like Chapo Trap House to generate substantial monthly incomes, with earnings of $179,740, reflecting the viability of subscription models alongside traditional ad and brand sponsorships.
In summary, the podcasting market, while facing post-pandemic content production challenges, is growing in both listenership and revenue. And can be considered a dream market for many creators.
AI-Generated podcasts: is that anyone's chance to get rich quick?
As of 2023, AI's footprint in the podcasting world remains relatively small. There aren't yet any AI-generated podcasts that mirror the financial or popular success of top human-hosted shows. But despite their nascent stage, some AI podcasts have found audiences. The "Joe Rogan AI Experience," which simulated conversations between an AI-generated Rogan and guests like Donald Trump, garnered significant attention.
Some of the episodes amassing over half a million views on YouTube. Created by a fan named Hugo, this project highlights the curiosity and engagement AI can spark, even if the financial returns are still uncertain. Hugo, aware of the legal and ethical gray areas, doesn't expect substantial income from this project, especially without consent for using Rogan's likeness.
Another example is the fun podcast Podcast.ai, which features synthetic conversations between figures like Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs. It attracted 25,000 monthly visitors in November 2023. While not a financial windfall, it demonstrates the potential that AI can help generate.
But the real value of AI in podcasting might not lie in completely synthesized shows but in aiding human creators. AI tools can significantly accelerate production processes, from scripting to editing. The real riches in AI podcasting may ultimately come from how these tools empower creators to produce more engaging, consistent, and high-quality content rather than replacing the human element altogether.
How can you use AI to create podcasts?
AI brings many advantages to podcasting. It might dramatically speed up the production process, transforming what used to take hours or days into a task that can be completed in minutes. This efficiency is revolutionizing how quickly content can be created and released. Moreover, AI-generated podcasts lower the barrier to entry, enabling anyone with basic tools to craft content. This democratization expands the range of voices and stories in the podcasting space.
Quality consistency is another area where AI shines. It ensures a standard output quality, a leap from the variability often associated with human production. Furthermore, AI reduces the financial costs of podcast production, making it a more viable option for many aspiring creators. Additionally, its multilingual capabilities are breaking language barriers, allowing content creation in various languages and thus expanding global reach.
However, embracing AI in podcasting also comes with challenges. The quality of AI-generated audio, while advanced, often lacks the nuances of human speech, which can affect the listening experience. AI is constrained by the code, so there’s a limit to the customization level and uniqueness that human creators bring. Potentially, it will make the end product less engaging than human-produced counterparts.
The human element, the emotional depth, and the personal touch that makes podcasts relatable and successful are sometimes missing in AI-generated content. But when used wisely, AI tools can be helpful for:
- Idea generation: AI can be a great brainstorming partner that sifts through the digital noise to suggest topics that resonate with current trends and audience preferences.
- Voice and music generation: AI music generators can be used for background music, intro and outro jingles. AI voices can bring diversity in accents and styles, offering flexibility in content delivery. They're not here to replace human emotion but to complement it, especially when human recording isn't possible. And it’s a way cheaper alternative to hiring someone who might even do a worse job.
- Transcription and translation: AI-driven transcription and translation is a game-changer for accessibility. It can quickly turn audio into text and translate it into hundreds of languages, making podcasts available to a wider audience, including those with hearing impairments and from foreign markets.
- Editing: AI can meticulously refine the audio, removing unnecessary elements and enhancing the overall quality, saving creators hours of tedious work.
- Automated note creation and marketing: AI doesn't just listen. It understands and summarizes. It creates show notes that capture the essence of the episode, providing a valuable resource for listeners that can be used for promotional purposes and boosting SEO.
And that’s just the top of the list.
While the creative soul of podcasting still rests firmly on human intuition and creativity, AI tools can streamline production. In the next section, let’s explore the toolkit for the modern podcaster in this AI-augmented era.
Best AI podcasting tools
While working on this section, I’ve sifted through 62 tools crowned as "the best AI tools for podcasting." And I ended up with the following 15. This selection wasn't just about being mentioned on some blogs but rather guided by monthly visitor counts registered by Similarweb as of November 2023 as a main criterion.
I deliberately excluded giants like ChatGPT and Midjourney (which, of course, are great to use for content and graphics, respectively), seeking tools that are specifically tailored to podcasters' needs. With that being said, let’s begin:
With a monthly visitor count of over 5.138 million, Adobe Podcast is a versatile platform for enhancing speech, eliminating noise, and offering pre-edited royalty-free music. Its AI-powered features, like Mic Check, analyze and suggest improvements, ensuring professional studio sound quality is attainable without expensive equipment. Ideal for both solo podcasters and remote collaborations, Adobe Podcast allows users to record, edit, and enhance audio directly in the browser.
Best for: Podcasters seeking an all-in-one, browser-based solution for professional-grade audio quality.
Ausha, attracting 829,427 monthly visitors, leverages ChatGPT to act as an effective social media manager. This platform is the first comprehensive podcast marketing platform, facilitating distribution across 22 major directories. Its AI Keyword Assistant is particularly noteworthy, assisting in improving show rankings and visibility.
Best for: Podcasters aiming to amplify their reach with robust marketing and AI-driven content creation.
Descript, with its 2.236 million monthly visitors, stands out for its comprehensive podcast editing suite, including transcription, screen recording, and publishing capabilities. The platform simplifies editing with its text-based system and can appeal to novice and experienced podcasters with its AI voices and remote recording features.
Best for: Creators looking for an intuitive, text-based editing system for efficient podcast production.
Attracting a significant 15.7 million monthly visitors, Eleven Labs specializes in AI-generated voice translation, offering an extensive library of voices across multiple languages. It's a versatile tool for podcasters who require high-quality voiceovers or wish to produce content catering to people from all around the world.
Best for: Podcasters and content creators needing multilingual, high-quality AI voiceovers.
FineShare Online Voice Changer
FineShare Online Voice Changer, with its 884,555 monthly visitors, excels in AI voice cloning technology. Supporting over 40 languages and more than 1000 AI voices, it's ideal for adding a unique flair to podcast content with its studio-quality, natural-sounding voiceovers.
Best for: Podcasters and creators who desire creative voice modulations and effects.
Fliki, drawing 2.512 million visitors monthly, is recognized for its user-friendly interface, enabling podcast creation in just three steps. The platform's Magic Create feature, which transforms various formats like blogs and tweets into engaging content (including content for podcasts), makes it an excellent choice for those seeking simplicity and quality.
Best for: Those who need a straightforward, quick solution for turning text into engaging podcast content.
HeyGen, with a significant 6.778 million monthly visitors, specializes in creating videos using AI avatars that can translate scripts into numerous languages. The platform stands out for its scriptwriting features, huge selection of templates, and customizable AI outfits, making it a tempting choice for content creators.
Best for: Content creators seeking to produce multilingual videos with customizable AI avatars for a global audience.
Krisp, attracting 764,390 visitors each month, is an AI-powered tool that enhances online meetings by removing noise and echo. While its main draw is the AI Voice Clarity feature, including Background Voice Cancellation and Echo Cancellation, its AI Meeting Assistant also has transcription features.
Best for: Podcasters and professionals requiring crystal-clear audio quality in their recordings or live sessions.
With 1.023 million monthly visitors, Lovo is a high-tech podcast maker featuring voice control and tools for realism. It offers over 500 voices in 100 languages, making it a robust option for creating realistic AI voiceovers. The platform's Natural Language Processing and Instant Voice Cloning make it an excellent tool for podcasters needing versatile and realistic voice options.
Best for: Podcasters seeking realistic and customizable AI voiceovers in multiple languages for diverse content creation.
Mindgrasp, garnering 616,765 monthly visits, creates accurate notes from various formats, including podcasts. Its AI Learning Assistant and features like Summarization and Flashcards can be particularly useful for podcasters looking to create engaging and educational content.
Best for: Podcasters and educators looking to transform their content into concise summaries, quizzes, and flashcards for interactive audience engagement.
Otter.AI, with a significant 4.461 million monthly visitors, offers speech-to-voice transcription services that distinguish and tag different speakers. Its real-time transcription and note-taking capabilities make it a valuable tool for podcasters who need accurate transcripts of their episodes.
Best for: Podcasters needing precise transcription services to create show notes and searchable content.
With a monthly visitor count of over 2.175 million, PlayHT is a standout tool in the podcasting domain. It specializes in creating human-like audio experiences with a vast library of over 800 AI voices across multiple languages. The platform transforms text into lifelike speech, making it an important asset for podcasters looking to infuse diversity and professionalism into their content.
Best for: Podcasters aiming to provide a globally appealing, dynamic listening experience with many voice options.
Attracting over 1.020 million visitors monthly, Podcastle has carved out a niche in the podcasting market with its AI-driven studio-quality recording and effortless multi-track editing. The platform's diverse array of AI voices empowers podcast creators to infuse variety into their shows, while its "Magic Dust AI" feature streamlines the audio editing process.
Best for: Creators seeking a comprehensive podcast production suite that simplifies recording and editing while maintaining high-quality output.
Riverside, with its impressive 2.865 million monthly visitors, offers a blend of AI transcription services and studio-quality recording capabilities, complemented by rapid editing features. Its standout offering is the AI-driven transcription service, which not only makes content more accessible but also enhances its SEO potential.
Best for: Podcasters who prioritize high-quality recordings and seek efficient AI-assisted transcription and editing tools.
Wisecut, though it caters to a smaller audience with approximately 815,774 monthly visitors, presents a unique proposition in the AI-powered online video editing space. Its features like Auto Cut Silences and Auto Subtitles are particularly useful for podcasters who are branching into video content, automating the editing process effectively.
Best for: Podcasters venturing into video formats, looking for user-friendly, AI-enhanced editing tools to streamline their production process.
These tools demonstrate AI's ability to help maintain regularity in content publishing, a valuable asset in the fast-paced world of digital media. The potential for podcasts produced with the help of AI to become a more accessible and exciting option in audio content creation is huge.
The competition among tools is fierce, which is fantastic news for us, the consumers. It means more choices, more innovation, and sometimes, incredible finds that cost us nothing. Take, for instance, Waveroom, a recording studio for podcasts and interviews, still in beta. It's genuinely free – unlimited video and audio recordings for you and up to four guests, at no cost.
With AI stepping up its podcast game, it’s a toss-up, right? Will we lean towards the perfect, polished AI versions or stick with the charm of human-made podcasts? I am preparing my popcorn to watch the situation unfold. Whether it's AI's precision or the human touch that wins out, the sheer variety of tools like Waveroom ensures that everyone, regardless of budget, can join the army of podcasters. And for the very least it feels good to have that opportunity open.