NATIONAL NEWS

Controversial podcast host Joe Rogan signs new multiyear deal with Spotify

Feb 3, 2024, 7:54 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Spotify has penned a new multi-year partnership deal with controversial podcast host Joe Rogan, whose enormously popular show will soon also be available on competing platforms, including YouTube and Apple Podcasts.

Spotify announced the renewed partnership in a post on the company’s corporate blog Friday. Under a prior multimillion-dollar deal, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” had been a Spotify exclusive since 2020.

Wall Street Journal, which first reported the new deal on Friday, estimated that the new contract was worth as much as $250 million over its multiyear term. It cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. The pact involves an upfront minimum guarantee, in addition to a revenue sharing agreement based on ad sales, the newspaper reported.

Spotify couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

Over the years, Rogan has developed a huge audience who listen to his long, wide-ranging interviews with a variety of guests, including comedians, athletes, scientists and conspiracy theorists.

“There’s no script of what we’re going to talk about, and it all just sort of happens in real time,” said Rogan on Spotify’s blog post. “It’s just an actual organic conversation with people enjoying themselves, which is something we all can relate to, and something we all love to do. These conversations have changed the way I think about life immeasurably and continue to do so.”

The show is consistently Spotify’s most popular podcast but also a frequent cause of controversy for the company. Most notably, Spotify came under huge pressure in 2022 to drop Rogan over his anti-coronavirus vaccine comments and use of racial slurs, with some musicians, including Neil Young, pulling their music from the platform in protest.

In February 2022, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek denounced the host’s racist language but said, “I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”

Spotify’s shares closed up $3.51, or nearly 2% to $222.47 per share on Friday.

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