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In May 2020, Joe Rogan signed what remains the most industry-shifting contract in media.
Rogan moved his top-rated podcast from Apple and YouTube to the much less consumed Spotify. The Sweden-based audio platform signed him to a contract far exceeding television money.
According to the New York Times, Rogan signed a licensing deal with Spotify to carry his podcast exclusively for three and half years for “at least $200 million,”
That three and half years would take Rogan to the fall of this year.
A report from the media outlet Semafor appeared to corroborate that report on Sunday. The outlet also cited sources close to the matter saying Rogan may bolt Spotify by 2024.
Now, there are also questions about whether Spotify will retain its biggest star. Some insiders speculate that Rogan could choose not to renew his deal when it ends later this year and go independent or sign with another audio company. His ties to the company have frayed: Courtney Holt, the executive who recruited Rogan, is no longer with Spotify. And although he reportedly has a strong clause in his contract protecting his ability to say whatever he wants, Rogan said publicly that the vaccine comments nearly prompted the company to end their relationship.Semafor.
Spotify has since responded to the Semafor details via the New York Post in which it denies this report. The audio provider insists Rogan’s contract does not expire this year but would not say when the deal does.
Now, consider Spotify had reason to deny the report. Rogan is the top podcaster in the country. The publication of his expiring deal would only escalate outside interest.
Given that Spotify had Rogan’s back through a year-long witchhunt from Covid hysterical leftists a year ago, we can deduce that the brand wants to keep Rogan long-term.
Moreover, Spotify didn’t deny the report when the Times originally published the details on February 17, 2022.
Rather, Spotify waited until the clock ticked and the contract year reportedly began.
The brand needs Rogan more than he needs it. There’s only one Joe Rogan. And Spotify is hardly unique from other audio providers.
Aside from “Call Her Daddy,” a Spotify exclusive, the industry-leading podcasts are distributed across all audio players: “The Ben Shapiro Show,” “The Daily,” “The Megyn Kelly Show,” and “Pod Save America.”
(Spotify’s deal with “Call Her Daddy” expires in 2024.)
Rogan could take his show independent anew. He could separate his audio and video rights for double monetization.
Last year, the YouTube alternative, Rumble, offered Rogan $100 million to bring his show to its service.
Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing tweeted last year that DW would also make Rogan a compelling offer. If Daily Wire offered Steven Crowder $50 million could it offer Rogan $200 million?
For what it’s worth, Rogan speaks fondly of Daily Wire star Ben Shapiro.
Joe Rogan is among the most valuable personalities in media. He’s perhaps No. 1.
His value to Spotify is akin to Bill Maher’s at HBO, Stephen A. Smith’s at ESPN, and Rachel Maddow’s at MSNBC.
He, not Spotify, will hold all leverage during renegotiations, be it later this year or sometime soon.