Report: Spotify's Rogan Deal Worth Far More Than $100M

Sources say it was worth at least $200M
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2022 4:58 AM CST
Report: Spotify's Rogan Deal Was Worth $200M, Not $100M
UFC announcer and podcaster Joe Rogan speaks at the weigh in before a UFC on FOX 5 event in Seattle, on Dec. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

When Joe Rogan signed a multiyear deal with Spotify in 2020, industry insiders estimated it was worth around $100 million—a record for the podcasting industry and a pay rise for a man who was already the world's highest-earning podcaster. Sources tell the New York Times and Pitchfork that the deal was actually worth at least twice that figure. The Times' sources say the deal, which followed an "intense courtship" of Rogan, covered three and a half years and was worth $200 million with the possibility of more. According to company filings, Spotify bought entire companies, including Gimlet Media and the Ringer, for less than what the Rogan deal cost them.

But while the deal brought Rogan's content exclusively to Spotify, giving the company an edge on competitors and boosting its share price 17%, it also took more controversy than it may have bargained for, the Times notes. Artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from the platform last month to protest COVID misinformation from some of Rogan's guests—and others, including India Arie, cited his use of the n-word in earlier podcasts as a reason for leaving. Spotify pulled some old Rogan episodes but said it was standing by its commitment to free speech. The Verge notes that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek promised earlier this month to spend $100 million on content from "historically marginalized groups"—an amount that was, at the time, widely thought to be how much it spent on Rogan. (Read more Spotify stories.)

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