Allen Pike and Steamclock were going to make an app for making podcasts. They decided against it:
Sponsored podcasters are the folks who could justify dropping serious money on podcast software, say on the order of $200, so I worked to determine how many pros and semi-pros are out there. The best estimates I could get said there were 500 to 1,000 active sponsored podcasters out there. If you follow the typical startup math of “Imagine! If we only got 1% of the market!” then that would be… 5 customers. I’m confident we could do a lot better than that, but realistically there’s maybe $20-50k to be made in the pro market. Even with the most optimistic market penetration and continued linear growth in podcasting, you wouldn’t make enough to actively improve and maintain a great pro app.
Unfortunately, the math works similarly for the enthusiast market. There are perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 semi-serious amateur podcasters who might consider paying $20 for such an app, perhaps enough to break even building the app initially, but again not enough to sustain such a complex app. Only making $20-50k on some iPhone app is no tragedy if it doesn’t need maintenance, but for a mission-critical pro app with a backend service, it’s just not enough.
Why are professionals and enthusiasts the only options? Why should podcasting software be for professionals, anyway? Why not make something anyone could use, and price it accordingly?
Maybe pricing will always be a problem. Maybe there just aren’t enough different people making podcasts to make it financially sustainable, and the only way we’ll get better tools is if Apple bakes them into Garageband or something.
But I wonder how much money you’d make if you just built and marketed an app that empowered people to record and publish conversations.