Joe Rogan’s exclusive podcast deal with Spotify was actually a $200 million deal, double what has been previously reported, according to a new The New York Times report published on Thursday.
Rogan’s show “The Joe Rogan Experience” has been the center of debate on whether Spotify should take a more active role in policing false and inflammatory content on its streaming platform, especially when it comes to COVID misinformation and hate speech.
Spotify executives began courting the podcaster, who was already a big hit on YouTube, in May 2020. The deal has been reported to be worth more than $100 million, but those familiar with the details of the transaction told the Times that the true value of the transaction was $200 million over three and a half years. There was a possibility for more, the unidentified insiders told the paper.
Reps for Spotify and Rogan did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
In recent years, Spotify has made a bigger play for podcasting content as it aims to grow beyond offering music to its subscribers. Spotify bought podcasting company Gimlet Media and The Ringer, a podcast founded by ESPN alum Bill Simmons, for nearly $200 million. And now Spotify and Amazon are considering bids on the podcasting platform Audioboom.
“The Joe Rogan Experience” is Spotify’s biggest podcast in the U.S. and 92 other markets, creating more growth opportunities for Spotify’s advertising business. The streaming company recently reported 406 million monthly active users in Q4, up from 381 million from the previous quarter. And ad-supported revenue accounted for a record 15% of total revenues in Q4, with a double-digit increase in monthly active users engaging in podcasts compared to Q3.
Earlier this month, Spotify’s stock plummeted to a 21-month low after its Q4 earnings following pushback over Rogan’s unsubstantiated comments about the pandemic and COVID vaccines. In the earnings call with investors, Ek said that the company will not change its policies based on one creator or change it based on “any media cycle or call from anyone else.” Ek ultimately defended the company’s continuing use of Joe Rogan’s podcast in a heated employee town hall after the company reported weak quarterly earnings in February.