Elon Musk (🚀+🥦), Bernie Sanders, Mike Tyson, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Andrew Yang, and even the certifiably insane Alex Jones, have one thing in common.
They have all been guests on the Joe Rogan Experience.
Launched in 2009, the podcast hosted by Joe Rogan, has become the world’s biggest podcast with millions tuning in to listen (and watch on Youtube). In 2019, he was averaging almost 200 million downloads per month. Now, his podcast has gone from being freely accessible on any RSS podcast app (and YouTube), to being a Spotify exclusive.
The deal, rumored to be between $100 - 200 million (🤑), has sparked a fierce debate among industry analysts and enthusiasts — did Spotify win this deal? Did Joe Rogan get the deal of a lifetime?
Here’s a curation of perspectives on who won this deal…
🏆 Winners 🏆
Obviously, this deal is about Joe Rogan. At 200 million downloads, Joe has a massive following. Currently, he monetizes using ads.
Joe wouldn’t take a deal where he makes less than what he currently does. So it is a fair assumption that his podcast was making $64MM in annual revenue.
This new Spotify deal puts 2-4x money in Joe’s pocket and (presumably) takes away a lot of overhead business work. Joe Rogan can focus on the creative.
More guaranteed money + less work = 💰💰💰
How JRE will help Spotify gain podcast supremacy (Rolling Stone)
JRE helps expand Spotify’s audience and age reach
By controlling distribution of top podcasts, Spotify will control the podcast industry akin to how Google controls search advertising and Facebook controls social media advertising
A big chunk of listeners won’t follow JRE to Spotify. If they don’t, they need new content to fill the void left behind by JRE. New, small, open podcasters can fill these hours with their content.
As for big podcasters, all the other podcasts on the top 10 list have suddenly become prime acquisition targets. The JRE deal has not only made them more valuable, but also increased the urgency to acquire them. Apple, Amazon, Google are all players in this space — who will they acquire to keep up with Spotify?
👎 Losers 👎
Joe Rogan (yes, him again)
Andrew Wilkinson argues that Joe Rogan got ripped off. Spotify’s market cap jumped $3B after they announced the Rogan acquisition. Clearly the market thinks Joe’s value to Spotify > $200MM? Also Joe loses control of his audience, possible recurring revenue, and a big chunk of his audience that wouldn't follow him to Spotify.
Another interesting angle explained by EntertainmentStrategyGuy and Matt Stoller — the power shifts from JRE to Spotify in advertising.
“Now if you want to advertise to Bill Simmons or Joe Rogan’s audience, you had to do that on their podcast. In the future, Spotify can serve those ads to anyone else when they are listening to something else. Is that good for podcasts individually? Obviously not. You lose your “exclusivity” value when Spotify can sell your customers elsewhere. Ask local newspapers and their massive extinction event how much dynamic advertising via Google/Facebook has helped their businesses.”
Open Podcasting Ecosystem
Matt Stoller writes about monopolies and how he doesn’t like the Spotify deal. Read his analysis of the impact of Spotify on open podcasting and consumers. Hint - it’s bad.
If you wanted another perspective on how the podcast world feels about this, here’s one from Marco Arment, founder of Overcast, a popular open podcast app.
The Joe Rogan podcast has attracted over 2 billion views on Youtube. They must be pissed. But from what I can tell, Youtube didn’t make any real effort to hold on to Joe Rogan. I doubt there was a bidding war. To be fair to YouTube, their Youtube Red exclusives have flopped miserably. So I can look past their hesitation in entering a bidding war for exclusive content.
But there is one respite, JRE clips (2-6 minute clips of segments from his podcasts) will still be on Youtube.
But still, Youtube is a big loser here. The platform helped create stars Emma Chamberlain, Tyler Oakley, and Ricky Banks. Yet, they all took their podcasts off Youtube to other exclusive platforms. And now their poster child Joe Rogan.
🥔Couch Potato-in-Chief’s Notes
Look, obviously open podcasters hate this deal because people are going to download more Spotify now. I don’t know what the math looks like for Joe, but assuming he didn’t make a harebrained mathematical error — he comes out on top.
As a consumer, this is either a win (if you love Spotify) or neutral. The podcast is still completely free and accessible. Instead of some random app, you now have to download Spotify which also has great music and radio. At the very least you have to use one less app.
Television networks have exclusives. We are used to it. We can only watch Game of Thrones on HBO and House of Cards on Netflix (yeah I know no one watches either of these shows anymore). This consolidation and exclusivity is simply new to the podcast world - not consumers. On the contrary, if you compare - HBO’s exclusive access to GoT is more annoying since I have to pay for HBO just to watch one show. Spotify is free. Consumers like me are the biggest winners.
What do you think? Are you an avid JRE listener? Will you follow him to Spotify? Are you livid he is going into a closed ecosystem? Hit reply and tell me!
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