Joe Rogan, comedian and host of one of the most popular podcasts in the world, is taking his show to Spotify. The Joe Rogan Experience will soon become a Spotify exclusive, meaning episodes’ full audio and video will only be available through the platform starting later this year. Up until now, Rogan’s show has never been available on Spotify, let alone exclusive to any platform.
The show will become available on Spotify globally starting on September 1st, and it’ll become an exclusive sometime after that point. Listeners won’t have to pay to access the episodes, but they will have to become Spotify users. Spotify said in a press release that Rogan retains creative control over his show. It didn’t disclose how much it spent on the deal. The company will also work with an ad agency to jointly sell ads against the program. Rogan said last year his show reached about 190 million downloads a month.
Rogan’s YouTube channel will remain live, but it won’t contain full episodes. There might be clips or other supplementary content which could benefit from YouTube’s search algorithm and push people to listen to full episodes on Spotify.
This is a massive get for Spotify, which has made podcasting a core focus. It acquired Gimlet Media, Anchor, and Parcast last year, to start, and then signed more Spotify-exclusive deals. It’s working with the Obamas’ production company exclusively and committed to deals with other big names, like Joe Budden and Amy Schumer, and acquired The Ringer.
Although exclusive deals seem to be the company’s main listener acquisition strategy, Spotify didn’t immediately move Gimlet shows to an exclusive model. Instead, it produced ancillary, exclusive content like Gimlet Academy and extra Reply All episodes while keeping existing shows widely available. In this case, the company will seemingly move relatively quickly to make Rogan a Spotify-only offering.
Spotify’s podcast ambitions always directly targeted Apple, which, up until now, has been the biggest name in podcast players. But with the Rogan deal, Spotify also has another new target: YouTube. When it began testing its video podcasting feature earlier this month, it did so with the backing of two popular YouTubers. Rogan is one of the most popular YouTube podcasters, often with millions of people watching each episode, so losing his voice on the platform is a major hit to YouTube and a big gain for Spotify.