- Joe Rogan, the brash comedian who has become a hugely popular podcast host, is on the move to Spotify for more than $100 Million.
Joe Rogan, the brash comedian who has become a hugely popular podcast host, is on the move to Spotify for more than $100 Million.
Mr. Rogan revealed the deal on Instagram, telling his 9.5 million followers that the podcast will switch to Spotify on Sept. 1, in an arrangement that further cement the transformation of Spotify from a music streaming service to a beautiful online audio platform of all kinds.
The company did not reveal the financial specifics of the deal to license the show, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” however, citing an unnamed source, The Wall Street Journal estimated that it may be worth more than $ 100 million based on the success metrics and other factors of the show.
Grey Munford, a Spotify spokesperson, declined to comment on the newspaper’s cited figure.
Mr. Rogan has consistently emphasized on social media that the contract would not alter the essence of his show or make him a Spotify employee.
“They just want me to keep doing it the way I am doing it right now,” he said. “It’s just a licensing arrangement, so Spotify won’t control the series creatively.”
He clarified in a video announcement on Facebook that he would not be a Spotify employee.
“It’s going to be the same series,” he said. “We’ll have the same crew doing the same show.”
Spotify described the agreement in a statement as a “multi-year exclusive licensing deal” which would make the podcast free for all 286 million users of the platform.
Mr. Rogan said the show’s clips would still be available on YouTube, where the show is currently streaming and attracting millions of viewers per week. But full episodes will circulate exclusively on Spotify later in the year.
The partnership was the latest in a series of transactions revealed by Spotify, which earlier this year acquired The Ringer, the website and podcast network founded by Bill Simmons, which has over 30 podcasts like “The Bill Simmons Podcast” and “The Rewatchables.” That announcement came one year after Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, a podcast publisher responsible for shows such as “Answer All” and “Homeco”
The contract with Mr. Rogan is similar to the kind that has been signed between athletic companies and sports stars, said Stephanie Liu, an analyst at Forrester research firm.
The deal allows Spotify to take advantage of Mr. Rogan’s huge audience by giving advertisers another lure, Ms. Liu said, “or, even better, convert them to Spotify Premium subscribers.”
The deal indicates that Spotify is aiming to compete more explicitly with YouTube, she added. “The exclusive deal for video and audio content offered by Rogan suggests that Spotify places a higher value on video than in previous years,” she said.
In a statement about Mr. Rogan ‘s contract, the company said its podcast was now “the most sought-after podcast on Spotify and is the leading show on nearly any other podcasting site.”
Since Mr. Rogan’s podcast started in 2009, he has gained a massive following from his long-format interviews, frequently filled with profanities and his unvarnished opinions about the news. He has positioned himself as a counterweight to what he sees as political correctness run amok and interviewed a wide variety of public figures, including businessman Andrew Yang and senator Bernie Sanders, whom Mr. Rogan endorsed early in this year’s Democratic Presidential primary.
He has also drawn criticism for discussing conspiracy theories, making jokes that undermine transgender people and sharing his platform with far-right figures like Gavin McInnes, the founder of the Proud Boys, and Alex Jones, the founder of the “Infowars” who spread the false narrative that the shooting of the 2012 Sandy Hook school was a hoax and that the parents of the killed children were “actors in crisis.”
Mr. Rogan was also widely criticized for comments he made in 2013 when he mentioned going to a cinema to see “Planet of the Apes” in a mostly black neighborhood.
“We’re moving into ‘Planet of the Apes.’ We’ve gone into Africa,” he said on his podcast. “We walked into the house, and white people did not exist.”
On the podcast, he acknowledged that it was a “racist thing for me to say,” but added that “it wasn’t a negative experience.”
He later complained about the blowback he received on the Twitter show. “Listen, man, I say it has been a positive experience,” he said.
Mr. Rogan has shrugged off criticism of the conspiracy theories he is peddling. “Conspiracies, I go back and forth. I have a relationship of love-hate with conspiracies,’ he said on his podcast last year.