Music streaming service Spotify has paid $200 million for exclusive rights to Joe Rogan’s podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, according to Forbes. This is double the $100 million deal price reported in 2020.
Under the deal, Spotify gets exclusive rights to the podcast until 2023, with the potential for Rogan to earn even more than the original $200 million, according to two unnamed The New York Times sources. According to the publication, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told employees at a company meeting that Rogan’s podcast, which remains at the top of the U.S. podcast charts, is necessary for the service to compete with technology leaders Google and Apple.
In January, rock musicians Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren announced a boycott of Spotify because of The Joe Rogan Experience. The artists demanded that their music be removed from the platform’s catalog, claiming the podcast was spreading “conspiracy theories” about COVID-19 vaccinations. The audience of the project is about 11 million listeners.
Rogan, in turn, released a video message in which he apologized to the artists and noted that he could conduct a deeper analysis of “controversial” topics before recording episodes. At the same time, the blogger considers his decision to invite guests with alternative views on public health issues justified and does not agree that the episodes with them are “disinformation”.
Following the controversy, Spotify announced special tags for podcast episodes discussing COVID-19. These disclaimers will prompt users to go to a special portal that provides reliable and up-to-date information about the coronavirus received from scientists, doctors and health authorities. The music service also published new rules that prohibit content on the platform that disseminates “dangerous false or misleading medical information” that could cause harm or create a direct threat to public health.