The era of Spotify exclusive podcasts is over as Spotify renews Joe Rogan’s partnership with a promise to bring the audio show to other formats. The renewal is reportedly worth $250 million.
Spotify paid over $100 million in 2020 to take The Joe Rogan Experience podcast exclusive, helping it topple Apple as the world’s podcasting giant. While exclusivity may have helped claim the crown—it’s certainly not how you gain new ears—especially those ears already outside of your ecosystem. Spotify knows this and has been pivoting away from exclusive content since it reorganized its podcasting division last year.
The Wall Street Journal reports that part of this new deal involves an “upfront minimum guarantee, plus a revenue sharing agreement based on ad sales.” That revenue sharing agreement is why the podcast is no longer exclusive and will be available on rival platforms again, including YouTube. Spotify will sell ads for and distribute the podcast—including its video format.
That’s an interesting differentiation because it shows Spotify believes it will earn more from advertising revenue with that availability. Alex Cooper’s Call Her Daddy podcast was also renewed and ended exclusivity, but with the stipulation that only the audio podcast will be distributed. The video format version of Call Her Daddy is still a Spotify exclusive.
Spotify’s podcast reorganization saw it shifting away from content it previously paid big to have exclusive—especially in deals that didn’t pan out. A bit part of Spotify’s reorganization strategy has also been to pay smaller upfront minimum guarantees with an emphasis on its ad revenue sharing—which helps share the risk with talent. Joe Rogan’s previous deal saw his metrics tied to audience-number targets rather than any revenue sharing agreement.
Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify in 2022 over Spotify’s exclusivity deal with Joe Rogan. Young took umbrage with some of the podcasters’ comments surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines—saying he could no longer support having his music alongside misinformation. At the time, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said his ambitions to make Spotify the “largest audio platform in the world” meant embracing a wide variety of content.