Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Joe Rogan Moves to Spotify

Joe Rogan:

Starting on September 1 the podcast will be available on Spotify as well as all platforms, and then at the end of the year it will move exclusively to Spotify

The podcast was already hugely financially successful, and it seems like this can only reduce his audience. On the other hand, maybe the fans will follow him and this will open up a new audience of people who don’t understand how podcasts work but already use Spotify (as 286 million people do). If I were a regular listener, I would be annoyed at having to use a separate app for one show.

Ashley Carman (tweet):

Listeners won’t have to pay to access the episodes, but they will have to become Spotify users. Spotify said in a press release that Rogan retains creative control over his show. It didn’t disclose how much it spent on the deal. The company will also work with an ad agency to jointly sell ads against the program. Rogan said last year his show reached about 190 million downloads a month.

Rogan’s YouTube channel will remain live, but it won’t contain full episodes.

Julia Alexander:

Rogan’s YouTube presence has two main avenues; full length eps and clips. Does not having full length episode impact spread of clips?

Peter Kafka (tweet):

Unlike other deals, this isn’t an acquisition, but a “multiyear licensing deal.” So Rogan will end up owning his own work and can eventually hop somewhere else.


This has echoes of Sirius XM’s move to bring Howard Stern’s popular morning show to the satellite radio service in 2004. One big difference: Sirius was a subscription-only service, and Spotify offers a free, ad-supported version; an ad-free version of Spotify costs $10 a month in the U.S.

Todd Spangler:

With Rogan, Spotify has landed one of the podcasting biz’s whales. It currently ranks as the No. 2 most popular show on Apple Podcasts (after Barstool Sports’ “Call Her Daddy,” whose hosts have been the focus of an ongoing controversy), according to Apple. A source familiar with the deal said Rogan became sold on Spotify’s ability to build his audience worldwide, after initially resisting distributing the podcast on the platform because he saw it as primarily a music service and because Spotify wasn’t offering to pay enough in licensing fees.

Via Sara Fischer:

Most Americans only subscribe to one audio service, but that could change if more podcasts begin to be offered exclusively on certain platforms.


Everyone saying it’s a cash grab doesn’t listen closely. Over the last few years Joe has been demonetized and controlled by YouTube. I see a lot of podcasters following.

John Gruber:

It’s interesting to me, as someone with (to put it mildly) rather strong feelings on the advantages of publishing on the open internet, that Rogan sees moving to one exclusive app, with invasive tracking, as not exerting any sort of “creative control over the show”. I’m not trying to be coy, I know what he means — the content of the show will remain as-is, with no influence from Spotify. (So they say.) But I’m a big believer in Marshall McLuhan’s axiom: “The medium is the message.” Open podcasts and Spotify podcasts are similar, for sure, but they are not the same medium.


Update (2020-05-25): See also: Hacker News, MacRumors, M.G. Siegler, The Talk Show.

David Heinemeier Hansson:

[The] difference between $20m/yr and $100m/yr is negligible in terms of lifestyle. The difference between literally RUNNING YOUR OWN SHOW vs being content bait on someone else’s hook is immense.

Nicholas Quah interviews Bill Simmons:

Spotify wants to be the dominant audio platform everywhere. That was the No. 1 reason I wanted to go there. I’m at a point in my life where I really just want to win. I’ve been in situations of all kinds over the last 20, 25 years, but the most fun I had was probably 2009 to 2014 at ESPN when we had the combination of the reach, the right people behind the scenes, the right ambition, and a lot of money. And people who are willing to take chances with it. If you look back at the stuff we attempted during that stretch, it was a cool time for the company. It’s probably something that will not happen again for them because of the way subs went backwards and everything.

Spotify reminded me of that point when I was at ESPN and a lot of the stars had aligned. The big difference is Daniel. The guy is like a genius. He might be Steve Jobs for audio.

Matt Birchler:

We can argue about how bad form it is for shows to go exclusive to one platform, and we can argue about how we distinguish shows that are available in all apps vs those who are available in specific apps, but to refuse to call these shows “podcasts” at all I feel is blatant gatekeeping that sounds very much like Spielberg’s stance, except people taking this stance would probably be calling films on Netflix “long TV shows”.

“I prefer podcasts that are distributed via RSS so I can listen in the app of my choice,” is a totally valid statement, but what I tend to hear is, “it’s not a podcast if I can’t subscribe to it from Overcast/Castro/Pocket Casts,” which is really starting to rub me the wrong way.

We already have a term for audio that’s not distributed via RSS, and it predates “podcast”: Internet radio.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

How did the guy from Fear Factor become so popular? Not sure what the appeal is honestly.

1) My god this is greedy. Dude was already making tens of millions of dollars per year for sitting around smoking pot and asking idiotic softball questions to guests and/or blindly agreeing with them when they say controversial stuff. I wonder how he will explain the upside to his fans. This has to be a pure cash grab.

2) There are some weird reactions about this regarding Apple. I've seen folks saying that Apple should have paid him to stay on "the Apple Podcasts app". Some people really have no idea how this all works. Nor would Apple ever pay a blowhard like Joe Rogan for content anyway.

3) I don't see what Spotify's end game is here. Are they trying to hasten their own demise by spending hundreds of millions of dollars of cash that they don't have? I will be seriously bummed if they go under, because Spotify is WAY better than Apple Music (yes, I have both and keep hoping that AM will get better).


I'm not familiar with this "Fear Factor" of which you speak. What I'm wondering is how/why the guy who played the technician on News Radio switched to on-air work. :-)

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