Spotify (SPOT) will soon be the exclusive home to one of the biggest podcasts in the world.
Spotify announced Tuesday that it signed “The Joe Rogan Experience” for a multi-year exclusive licensing deal. The talk show-style podcast is anchored by comedian Joe Rogan, whom some consider controversial for peddling conspiracy theories with guests like Alex Jones. The podcast is ranked the second most popular in the United States on Apple Podcasts, according to Podcast Insights, and Rogan topped Forbes’ 2020 list of the highest-earning podcasters.
The deal is the latest move in Spotify’s effort to expand beyond a music streaming service to become an audio empire. In 2019, Spotify made its ambitions known by acquiring podcast companies Gimlet Media, Anchor and Parcast. In February, Spotify bought The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ sports and culture site that boasts more than than 30 podcasts.
With Rogan, Spotify is showing its willingness to bring more podcast listeners to its platform through exclusive content. Spotify now has dozens of podcasts exclusive to the platform, including three from Gimlet Media and three from The Ringer, according to a company spokesperson.
Spotify’s content chief Dawn Ostroff told CNN Business last year about the company’s strategy for more exclusives.
“We’re making more content exclusive on the platform, [which] allows us to market in a more meaningful way [and] bring people onto the platform,” Ostroff said at the time. “And we’re finding that creators are excited about working with us on an exclusive basis, because we’re able to put so much more of our marketing and on-platform data and insights in their hands.”
Rogan said in an Instagram post Tuesday that Spotify “won’t have any creative control over the show.”
The show was previously unavailable on Spotify. Rogan fans could listen to him on other platforms, such as Apple’s podcast app or YouTube. But Spotify could see that “The Joe Rogan Experience” had long been the most searched for podcast on its platform, the company said.
The show will debut on Spotify on September 1 and become exclusive later this year. Rogan also will make video episodes available on Spotify.
Last month, Spotify reported as part of its first quarter 2020 earnings that podcast listening on its platform is growing, with 19% of monthly active users engaged with that content, up from 16% the previous quarter.