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May 19, 2022
Joe Rogan’s Spotify Deal Allegedly Worth $200 Million, Doubling Initial Report
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Joe Rogan’s Spotify Deal Allegedly Worth $200 Million, Doubling Initial Report

Topline
Spotify paid Joe Rogan at least $200 million to host The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively on its platform, according to the New York Times—double the Wall Street Journal’s initially reported figure of $100 million for the controversial comedian who has come under fire recently for his past use of racial slurs and his promotion of misinformation regarding Covid-19.

PASADENA, CA – APRIL 17: Comedian Joe Rogan performs during his appearance at The Ice House Comedy … [+] Club on April 17, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

The deal gives Spotify the exclusive rights to the podcast through 2023, and there is a possibility for Rogan to earn even more than the initial $200 million, according to two unnamed sources who spoke to the Times. 

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek reportedly told employees at a company meeting that Rogan’s podcast, which remains at the top of their U.S. podcast charts, is essential for the streaming service to compete with tech leaders Google and Apple, according to the Times.

Some Spotify workers were concerned about the addition of Rogan when he was first brought on in May 2020, and some felt the company was not quick enough in responding to Rogan’s recent controversies, even raising concerns to the board of directors, unnamed sources told the Times.

Neither Rogan nor Spotify immediately responded to Forbes’ request for comment on the report.

Key Background
Ek released an internal apology letter to its employees last week after older clips of Rogan using racial slurs and other derogatory language resurfaced online, though Ek maintained the company would not be removing Rogan from its platform as “silencing Joe is not the answer.” Spotify removed 113 episodes of Rogan’s podcast from its platform earlier this month—by Rogan’s own decision after consulting with Spotify, according to Bloomberg—with all but one of the episodes airing before the Covid-19 pandemic began. Last month, Spotify added a Covid-19 content warning to Rogan’s show after he and the company faced criticism for promoting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines. In response to Rogan’s various guests, like Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough, spreading unsubstantiated claims relating to the pandemic, artists Neal Young, Joni Mitchell and others have removed their music from Spotify in protest. When Rogan contracted Covid-19 in September, he told his 14.6 million Instagram followers he’d taken a drug cocktail that included the drug ivermectin, which the Food and Drug Administration advocates against as a treatment for Covid-19. 

Big Numberection Title
93. That’s how many of the world’s markets in which The Joe Rogan Experience is Spotify’s most listened-to podcast, according to the Times. The Washington Post estimated last month the show averages 11 million listeners per episode.

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