Joe Rogan has taken the plunge, inking a 5 year $100 million dollar deal to take his podcast exclusively to Spotify. It is an interesting deal for Rogan, who has been very open about not needing to deal with any outside companies, any bosses, or any consultants. The deal allows him to retain full ownership of his podcast, but it will be licensed exclusively through Spotify.
Many people have been upset by the deal. People are calling Rogan a sellout. After years of putting out a completely free podcast for people to enjoy, its hard not to feel happy for Rogan that he was able to independently build a podcast all on his own that was worth $100 million to Spotify.
At the same time, this deal does feel like it goes against the spirit of what podcasts have become. They are the modern day pirate radio. Podcasts give you the freedom to say what ever you want, when you want, how you want, and you don’t need to run it by a boss as you would at a regular radio station.
When you receive $100 million dollars, you can bet that you do have to answer to someone at some point…
Rogan is sure to lose some of his audience. It is the nature of the beast. Just the fact you have to sign up to Spotify to listen to his podcast will see a lot of people be lost to him. However, that is what the money is for. You sacrifice the audience size in exchange for the cash.
For Rogan, he is sure to still have a giant audience on Spotify. Not as big as it is now, but he will still have the same download numbers that most podcasts will never, ever get near.
The interesting thing about this deal is that it sets the market value on a podcast and sets up a possible roadmap for many podcasts to follow. Try to build a big enough audience that one of the major podcasting outlets picks you up on an exclusive deal.
Some podcasters will claim they would never make that deal. They will say they will never put their podcast behind any sort of paywall. If they are being honest though, for the right price, they will. At some point the money will be too good to turn down.
This could now see different types of podcasting environments emerge. You will have the regular, completely free, open podcasts that can be downloaded anywhere. You will also have the exclusive podcasts that you need to sign up with a podcasting outlet to listen to. Those podcasts will almost become and estuary between normal podcasts and tradition radio.
You also have to think that with people having the ability to build a studio quality sound at home for just a few hundred dollars, radio stations will start to look to podcasters to fill their airwaves for way cheaper than your regular disk jockeys and shock jocks.
As a podcaster myself, I’m happy to put out free content right now and just build an audience. However, if I ever got to Rogans level of audience, and the age he is at right now, you can bet that a Spotify deal like the one he just signed would be too good to refuse!
I say good luck to Joe Rogan, if anyone deserves that much money for a podcast they have built, its him!