New Jersey born funnyman Joe Rogan is about to become the world’s highest paid broadcaster as he prepares to take his controversial podcast all the way to Spotify this coming September.
It was earlier this year in May that the Wall Street Journal reported that the comedian and MMA commentator sold his 11-year-old “The Joe Rogan Experience” series to Spotify in a licensing deal that is reportedly valued at over $100 million.
Spotify said in a press release “The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most popular podcasts in the world, is coming to Spotify via a multi-year exclusive licensing deal. The talk series has long been the most-searched-for podcast on Spotify and is the leading show on practically every other podcasting platform. And, like all podcasts and vodcasts on Spotify, it will remain free and accessible to all Spotify users. Since its launch in 2009, the pioneering Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) has broken ground and built one of the most loyal and engaged fan bases in the world.”
Rogan, 52, told his millions of fans via Instagram in May that “it will be the exact same show” and that he will be working with the same production crew. Spotify has also confirmed that Rogan will maintain creative control over the podcast.
“The only difference will be, it will now be available on the largest audio platform in the world,” Rogan added. “It will be free to you; you will just have to go to Spotify to get it.” The former Fear Factor host exclaimed, “I’m excited to have the support of the largest audio platform in the world, and I hope you folks are there when we make the switch!”
The deal with Rogan marks the second-biggest acquisition for Spotify as the streaming media services provider grows its podcast business and a deal that could finally help vault the company to first place in the arena.
Starting on September 1st, Rogan’s entire library of content will become available on Spotify and at some point, before the year ends, all audio and video will only be available on the platform. This means both Apple and YouTube will ditch ways with the comedian.
For many years, Spotify and Apple have been neck-and-neck in the podcast industry. This will be an enormous blow for the latter, as the series was one of the most popular podcasts that Apple has ever hosted. The series has a 4.7 rating on Apple Podcasts with over 160,000 reviews.
The Spotify deal is also paving the way for a new era of podcasting, as it is one of the largest single podcast deals the industry has ever seen. The attention of moneyed interests is growing and what was once a quiet and unexplored digital realm has become a big mainstream attraction where companies are now vying for the top spot in the market.
Considering that Rogan has over 200 million monthly listens and views, the deal could help Spotify dominate the market and gain podcast supremacy. “Spotify is saying basically, ‘We value this podcast more than we value any single artist on our platform,” said music research analyst Mark Mulligan. The analyst has also noted that the move “can turn Spotify into “the single biggest force in audio on the planet, the same way Facebook became the single biggest force in social.”
We know Rogan for his controversial and offensive remarks about life and politics and one of his most famous interviews involves him smoking marijuana with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2018. “He’s delivering scale and engagement,” Tom Webster, senior vice president at Edison Research, said to Forbes. “He’s the No. 1 in terms of reach in the U.S.”
This is not the first acquisition for Spotify in the podcast space. The company has been making plenty of moves in recent years to gain solid footing in the podcast environment. It was in August 2018 that Spotify signed an exclusive airing deal with Joe Budden for his popular hip-hop podcast. The platform then purchased Gimlet Media in February 2019, giving it access to popular podcasts like “Reply All” and “StartUp.” Along with this acquisition, Spotify also purchased podcast creation and distribution platform Anchor FM that month for about $153 million.
About the Gimlet acquisition, Dave Zohrob, the CEO of Chartable remarked, “Based on Chartable analytics data, we predict that Spotify will reach at least 25% listener share by the end of 2020 — a huge win for Spotify and a clear warning to Pandora, Apple and other folks.”
The podcast audience is widely growing. Small Biz Genius claims that in 2006 just 22% of Americans knew what podcasting was and today 70% of U.S. adults are familiar with the medium. Last year was a breakout year according to TechCrunch who has reported a 27% surge in podcast creation from the year before.
Spotify has made a victorious move snatching Rogan and now we can only wonder what is next on their list. Companies are scrambling to dominate in podcast listening, and more notable and costly acquisitions could be announced soon in the sector.