Will Spotify Pay Another $200 Million to Keep Joe Rogan Exclusive?

will Spotify pay to keep Joe Rogan exclusive
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will Spotify pay to keep Joe Rogan exclusive
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Photo Credit: Amr Taha

Joe Rogan helped cement Spotify’s place of dominance in the world of podcasting. Will the audio giant drop another $200 million to keep him exclusive? The landscape is vastly different three years later.

The deal Spotify struck with Joe Rogan for podcast exclusivity is estimated to be worth $200 million, more than the initial value reported ($100M). That deal also reportedly covers a 3.5-year term, which pegs a renewal date in the next six months. All of which introduces a very tricky renewal negotiation.

First, the good news for Spotify: unlike other podcast bets, this one actually panned out. ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ is the largest podcast on Spotify’s Wrapped 2022, followed by Alex Cooper’s ‘Call Her Daddy.’ Rogan is estimated to rake in around 11 million listeners per episode, with the largest weekly audience for a podcast in the United States, according to Edison Research.

But the Joe Rogan podcasting deal was struck at a time when Spotify had serious money to burn in its quest for podcast dominance. It has toppled Apple as the ‘King of Podcasts’ in the public eye (even though we don’t call them spotcasts, do we?), which means the strategy has shifted. No longer seeking to establish itself in the niche, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told investors that it would not “overpay or over-invest” in its future podcast deals.

Ek restructured Spotify’s podcast approach earlier this year, parting ways with Spotify’s Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, the architect of Spotify’s podcast approach. Ostroff was let go from the company as part of the first major round of layoffs to hit Spotify. Ek told investors that Spotify had no data when it initially struck these deals, but now the company has a mountain of data to back up its decisions.

Also a name worth rattling off: Courtney Holt, who has also left the Spotify building but was instrumental in crafting the Rogan deal. Holt, who also crafted the high-profile Obama podcast deals, departed in April of 2022. But that was during a far different era, one lush with Wall Street cash and heavy-spending excess.

Forgive Daniel Ek for sounding a bit more sober these days. “Now we have a lot more data and not surprisingly, what we are finding is that some of these shows work really well and some don’t work well,” Ek told investors during his Q2 financial call. “We’re retaining some deals, doubling down on others, and stepping out of other relationships that didn’t work.”

That aptly sets up the ‘elephant in the room’ question — which of course wasn’t addressed: will Joe Rogan be retained, double-downed on, or cut loose?

In recent deal-signing action, Spotify recently struck a high-profile deal with Trevor Noah that didn’t include an exclusivity clause—which dropped the price for Spotify. Then again, that’s for Trevor Noah, whose podcast prowess pales in comparison to Rogan.

Stay tuned as more beans spill — all 200 million of them.