As soon as Spotify with Joe Rogan in 2020 to become the exclusive distributor of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, it was evident that the company was paying him a pretty penny. Initial reports pegged the value of the deal at around $100 million. However, in the wake of over claims that Rogan was enabling the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, a new report suggests Spotify is paying much more than that.
According to , the three-and-a-half year deal is worth at least $200 million, with a possibility of additional payments. As the report notes, that’s more than Spotify paid to buy major podcast production companies and — each of those deals was worth a little under $200 million.
Rogan’s show is Spotify’s most popular podcast in 93 countries, including the US. Episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience can garner tens of millions of listeners. Spotify CEO reportedly that big exclusive deals such as the Rogan one helped make the company as successful as it is. Spotify has remained behind Rogan, even after his use of racist language on the show came under the spotlight. Rogan some episodes containing that language from Spotify.
The backlash against Rogan and the company ramped up after hundreds of doctors, nurses, scientists and educators to Spotify in January urging the company to take more action against the spread of misinformation. They sent the request after Dr. Robert Malone made claims about COVID-19 vaccines on The Joe Rogan Experience that they called “false and societally harmful assertions.”
Notable critics including and accused Spotify of spreading harmful misinformation and pulled their music from the platform. Around the same time, put episodes of her Spotify-exclusive podcasts on hold. Film director Ava DuVernay with Spotify last year, but cut ties this month before producing any content for the company. suggest and may not renew , which is set to expire in a few months.
Spotify has also faced criticism from employees over Rogan. The host and editor of Gimlet’s Science VS podcast said they’d until “Spotify implements stronger methods to stop the spread of misinformation on the platform.” There was one exception to that stance, though. Wendy Zukerman and Blythe Terrell are publishing episodes that debunk misinformation being spread on the platform. They that examines some of the claims made in Rogan’s chat with Malone.