First there were movies and TV shows. Now there’s podcasts- another medium for people to listen, laugh and even watch. In the past couple of years, the amount of podcast listeners has grown exponentially. As of 2023, there’s over 400 million listeners of podcasts worldwide. So, if you’ve got something you want to share and are thinking about starting a podcast, now is a good time to jump on that wagon. 

You’ve likely noticed blogs and how to video’s telling you that you don’t need much to start a podcast. Just something to talk about and somewhere to record it. While this is somewhat true, starting a podcast is a lot like starting a small business. You need to make sure you’ve got all your legal matters sorted, that way you don’t have to worry about anything while you engage your listeners. 

Let’s take a look at this in more detail below. 

Starting A Podcast 

When you start any kind of venture, it’s important to have a plan in place. Creating a Business Plan could help you get everything organised, especially if you plan on monetising your podcast and making it commercially successful. Things you could consider in your business plan include: 

  • Target audience
  • Niche market 
  • Finances and funding
  • Sponsors and advertisements
  • Long term and short terms goals
  • Marketing the podcast 
  • Legal considerations 

Having all your ideas and research in one place can really help keep your vision clear and your goals on track, so it’s worth taking the time to create a business plan when starting a podcast. 

How To Start A Podcast 

Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to get everything into motion for your brand new podcast. As eager as you might be to record that first episode, it’s important to make sure you’ve set your podcast up for success from the very beginning. One of the best ways to build a firm foundation is to make sure you have completed all the legal and regulatory measures. We’ve listed a couple of main ones below. 

Register A Business

This often gets overlooked but it’s important to think about registering your podcast as a business. Giving it a name and getting it officially registered can make things like taxes and other legal aspects a lot easier. 

There’s two main ways you can go about registering your podcast. This can be done either as: 

  • A sole trader
  • A company 

You also have the option of entering into a Partnership or setting up a trust based business. There’s a number of extra legal considerations for things like this. If it’s something you’re thinking about, we recommend talking to a legal expert

Most people going into business choose to operate as a sole trader or a company. A sole trader is the simplest and quickest option. All you need to do is get an ABN, apply for any taxes and Register Your Business Name. However, the business will be connected to you. That means all the liability, legal matters and financial matters will personally fall on you. 

If this doesn’t sound appealing, then you might consider Registering As A Company instead. The process is more complex, demanding more time and resources. However, the company will be a legal entity on its own. Ultimately, this means you will have more options when it comes to limiting your liability and separating yourself from your business. Registering a company requires following the right legal procedures and compliance measures, so it’s wise to have the help of a legal professional during this process. 

Get Your Trade Marks Sorted 

Another thing you will need to think about is establishing your brand as a podcast. Most people only think of podcasts as something to record and put out there. However, if you plan on building a following then it might be worth creating a brand identity so you can stand out. A common way to do this is by having a trade mark. A trade mark can be anything- a logo, music, phrase, colour. When you have thought of something original that goes with your brand, you’ll need to get it registered with IP Australia. Then, you’ll be able to legally own it for about 10 years. 

Getting a Trade Mark Registered isn’t an easy process. It requires a pretty comprehensive application and a long wait time. Collaborating with an IP law expert can make this undertaking a lot less stressful- talk to our legal experts today to learn more. 

Think About Contracts  

One of the key considerations when starting a podcast is getting any important contracts drawn up and signed. Perhaps you will be hiring employees or contractors? Maybe as a co host, editor or someone to help run the day to day of the business. Whatever the role description is, you’ll need to have a Contractor Agreement or an Employee Agreement in place. This way, you can set clear terms for your working relationship- which is pretty important  if you want things to run smoothly. 

Depending on the kind of business operations you will have as a podcast, there are other contracts you might need to get sorted. 

You might want to Adopt A Constitution for your company or have a separate website for your podcast, in which case you’ll need to look into getting things like Website Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and a Cookie Policy

It helps to talk things out with a legal expert so you can be clear on any risks, as well as the best legal documents you can get to keep your podcast business protected.  

How Do I Start A Spotify Podcast?

What medium will you use to air your podcast? Spotify is one of the most popular places people go to upload and listen to podcasts, it’s no surprise if you’re thinking of starting there. In order to start a Spotify podcast, you’ll need to sign up to Spotify and follow the correct prompts, file formats and upload instructions. It’s essential you read up on their terms and conditions to make sure you’re following through on all of their rules. 

Aside from spotify, there’s a number of other mediums you can publish your podcast to. Again, ensure you’re following the correct signup process and reading the terms and conditions. If you’re confused or unsure about something it’s always safe to get it cleared up by someone who knows the industry well. Our Specialist Entertainment Lawyers might be able to answer any queries for you, get in touch if you’re facing any issues. 

What Else Do I Need To Start A Podcast? 

When starting your podcast, there’s a couple more legal considerations you’ll need to think about. Most of this will depend on exactly how you’re going to go about recording your podcast and what you’ll be doing on it. For starters, if you’re going to be playing music or any other kind of sound clips, then you need to be wary of things like copyright. The last thing you want is your podcast getting in trouble for copyright infringement. It can help to have a Copyright Consult with a legal expert, so you can make sure you’re not breaking any regulations. 

As your podcast begins to grow and you think about collaborating with others, you’ll need additional legal documentation to keep your podcast protected. For instance, if you plan on having a Brand Ambassador for your podcast, you’ll need to have the right legal agreement in place for that. You might even get some influencers to help promote your show- this can be a pretty effective marketing strategy. However, it’s important to have an Influencer Agreement in place so both parties know what they can expect of one another. 

Next Steps

When starting a podcast, it’s important to do it the right way. Taking the time and effort to do so can help you build a strong foundation for success. To summarise what we’ve discussed:  

  • Starting a podcast is similar to starting a business and requires legal considerations
  • Creating a business plan for you podcast can help organise your goals, finances and legal matters
  • Consider officially registering your podcast as a business, choosing between options like a sole trader or company 
  • A trade mark can aid in establishing a brand identity for your podcast  
  • Think about getting the right legal documents in place that will help protect your podcast, such as employment contracts or contractor agreements   
  • To start a podcast on platforms like Spotify- sign up, follow guidelines and adhere to their terms and conditions
  • Be aware of any copyright considerations and take reasonable steps to prevent infringement 
  • As your podcast grows, ensure additional legal protection with agreements like Brand Ambassador or Influencer Agreements 
  • Always chat with a legal expert if you have any questions

If you would like a consultation on starting a podcast, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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