- Spotify signed an exclusive agreement with comedian Joe Rogan to carry his popular podcast on its audio streaming platform starting Sept. 1, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The company is paying more than $100 million for the rights to stream new episodes of "The Joe Rogan Experience" and its library going back to 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the deal.
- The podcast will be free to all Spotify users, including paid subscribers and people who listen to its ad-supported service. Spotify also will carry video episodes of the podcasts as in-app "vodcasts," the company announced.
- Rogan will maintain full creative control over the show, which features interviews with celebrities and experts on topics such as neuroscience, sports, comedy, health, infectious disease and culture. After the September debut, all prior episodes of "The Joe Rogan Experience" will be exclusive to Spotify by the end of the year, per Spotify.
Spotify's deal to carry "The Joe Rogan Experience" likely will help to expand the audio streaming platform's audience, giving mobile marketers broader reach for their advertising including host-read inserts. Spotify in September will start selling ads for the podcast in a collaboration with Public Media Marketing (PMM), which has a long history of representing the show.
Rogan's podcast currently only serves pre-roll ads, but Spotify intends to add mid-roll inserts, Ad Age reported. The show's current sponsors include 23andMe, Dollar Shave Club and ZipRecruiter, the Journal reported.
For Spotify, the deal adds one of the most popular podcasts in the world to its lineup of programming. "The Joe Rogan Experience" is the second-most popular U.S. podcast on Apple Podcasts after "Call Her Daddy" from Barstool Sports, per researcher Podcast Insight. Rogan's channel on YouTube, which shares clips and episodes of the program, has 8.4 million subscribers and generated 100 million streams in March alone, per data cited by Ad Age. Rogan last year earned $30 million from the podcast, Forbes estimated.
Spotify, which had 286 million monthly active users worldwide by the end of Q1, has rapidly expanded its exclusive podcast lineup to differentiate its service from rivals like Apple Music, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Google's YouTube Music. In addition to licensing shows like "The Joe Rogan Experience," the company has been an aggressive acquirer of podcast producers.
Spotify in February agreed to buy The Ringer, the publisher focused on podcasts around sports and pop culture, for a reported $250 million. That acquisition followed the purchase of Gimlet Media, which produces popular titles like "Homecoming" and "Reply All," for a reported $230 million a year earlier. Spotify also acquired the podcast production platform Anchor, and snapped up narrative-focused podcast studio Parcast for $56 million in 2019.
Spotify's investments in podcasting aim to better monetize the popular audio format, whose U.S. audience grew 16% to 104 million consumers this year as more people streamed audio on smartphones, smart speakers and in-car infotainment systems, according to an annual study by Edison Research and Triton Digital. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on Spotify as housebound consumers shift their media consumption to other digital platforms, per a Raymond James analyst cited by Barron's. As state and local authorities lift lockdowns, the audience is likely to rebound as people listen to podcasts during their commuting times.