How These Spotify Podcasters Make Almost $20,000 A Month Without Saying A Word

In 2021, music artists represented by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers launched global demonstrations, demanding better payout from Spotify. While artists — especially those without big label record deals — continue to fight, the music streaming platform is giving out handsome ad payouts to a rather interesting class of mostly anonymous "non-artists" who can end up making as much as $18,000 per month — without speaking a word.

That special class of lucky Spotify creators revolves around white noise, a category of tunes that neither requires any god-given vocal prowess or lyrical wizardry. Instead, it follows pure audio science. White noise is essentially a concoction of different audible sound frequencies carefully mixed to generate a soothing effect. Research suggests that white noise can help babies and adults sleep faster, and can also help with getting better sleep stage output in adults.

According to a Bloomberg report that features interviews with white noise podcasters, this genre has die-hard fans and they are helping these unconventional artists make thousands of dollars per month. The runtime of these white noise podcasts is also quite interesting, and their ratings also happen to be in the 4.5 out of 5 range for the popular ones. For example, the latest white noise episode by a company called Calming White Noise LLC is around 26 minutes, while the most recent podcast episode by the popular Sleep Sounds by TMSOFT handle runs over 9 hours.

Creating noise for sleeping users

Interestingly, a majority of companies that push white noise through the Spotify-owned podcast platform Anchor are anonymous. What's even more surprising is that these podcast owners reportedly make money from pre-roll ads and don't favor mid-track ads despite that super long runtime because they don't want to disrupt the listener's zen. A healthy bunch of these white noise podcasts offer subscriptions to avoid the ads entirely, and also make money from tips, which could be as little as $2 dollars and can go all the way up to $100. 

Notably, Spotify's own algorithms appear to be erroneously boosting their visibility and are fermenting a financial pickle for the company. "White noise and ambient podcasts accounted for 3 million daily consumption hours on the platform, inadvertently boosted by Spotify's own algorithmic push," claims another Bloomberg report citing internal documents. At one point, Spotify thought of removing these vocal-devoid episodes from the algorithmic push given to "talk" content, a step that would have saved up to $35 million per year. However, those plans reportedly didn't materialize.

Major labels such as Universal Music Group and Warner Music are apparently not happy with noise creators being paid out from the same revenue pool as music artists. White noise, which can be anything from TV static-like tunes to air purifier and fan sounds, is also big on YouTube, and garners listeners in the same fashion as those never-pausing Lo-Fi chill tunes.