The Industry Reacts To Rogan’s Payday


The Wall Street Journal is reporting the deal between Spotify and Rogan to take his show onto one platform is worth $100 million. Overcast CEO Marco Arment tweeted that “What Rogan is going to find out – after it’s too late – is that moving an existing, open, free show behind a proprietary wall results in massive audience loss.

Joe Rogan has always walked to the beat of his own drummer. He probably doesn’t care what Marco thinks, or anyone else for that matter. He has always done what he wanted to do and he’s been quite successful at it. He didn’t build his show to help make the podcasting world a success. Besides, is it really a podcast or is it a TV show on YouTube (that will eventually no longer be available on YouTube by the way). He’s said his show is getting 190 million downloads every month.

Rogan’s show is hosted by Libsyn. Lbsyn VP of Podcaster Relations Rob Walch says he’s not heard from the Rogan team yet so he’s unaware how this move will impact overall downloads. He also tells PBJ he’s happy for Joe Rogan but he’s also sad for podcasting. “Anytime a show goes exclusive it hurts the open nature of podcasting. Also once a show goes exclusive on a single platform it is no longer really a podcast.  It is a show on Spotify. Again – happy for Joe personally – but sad for podcasting overall – especially for 3rd party indie apps like Overcast.”

Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane also congratulated Rogan for his deal. “If I was Joe the only thing I would be worried about is how many of his fans will follow him to Spotify. Spotify has made significant inroads but there are a huge number of listeners that do not like the Spotify Podcast experience. He is big enough in the space that I am sure those listeners that do not move to Spotify with him that Spotify’s promotion of the show will gain him a significantly younger audience. Time will tell. We see though that gatekeepers with money will lock up more of the open podcast space.  One thing for sure since Joe Rogan’s podcast will no longer be available via open RSS it can no longer be referred to as a podcast so it will no longer be the world’s biggest Podcast.”

Produce Your Podcast Founder Traci Long DeForge tells PBJ this coup aligns with the other aggressive moves Spotify has made to solidify their position as the leader in the podcasting space. “The company has been very transparent about its goal to overtake Apple as the most popular podcasting app and now they’re clearly taking on YouTube. Naturally they would want an exclusive licensing deal with the podcast most people consider to be the most popular podcast in the world in both audio and video formats. They aren’t afraid to pay the freight for such a big win knowing this will up their game especially in their desire to offer more video podcasts.”

DeForge says this move will enable Spotify to gain more registered users since you’ll have to be a registered user to gain access to the podcast even though it will be free to listen to it. “There will likely also be a substantial increase in advertising revenue. For Rogan, it will expand his international reach. It also puts Rogan’s show at risk for losing audience share since Apple accounts for more than 60% of listeners for most podcasts.”

Hall of Famer Dave Jackson: “Joe Rogan gives his guests a chance to talk in something other than 15 second sound bytes. He gets interesting people to say interesting things as he creates a judge free discussion. Many moons ago, people called these “dialogues” before the cancel culture deemed them offensive. For me, I’ve always waited for someone to say “did you hear what somebody said on Rogan?” to go listen. I watched the Bernie Sanders interview, the Ted Nugent interview, and the Adam Curry interview I never listened on a podcast app because I had to sit through seven minutes of commercials so I watch it on YouTube. This is a win for Spotify, but until they get their feature set for podcasting to something capable like Overcast, I’m not making them my primary listening app. I’m happy for Joe’s bank account, but I think this is going to nudge the everyday podcaster into thinking they need a network, and Joe used to be the living proof that you could exist without one, and now he’s not. I’ve got my popcorn, and I’m ready to watch. I’ll be interested to see where he is in five years.”

Let’s face it, is there really anyone out there that would actually turn down this kind of bank? Probably not.


  1. Definitely going to shake up the industry. Michael Rapaport tried it with Barstool Sports and got in a legal battle with them, now behind a pay wall at Luminary while they face financial strain. We will have to see what Spotify does, sad to see him leave Libsyn.

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