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Spotify acquisition of Joe Rogan’s podcast: a brief note of what future holds

5 min read

Reported acquisition of more than $100 million dollars for exclusive podcast content which is generally ranked as the most popular around the world. At least in terms of downloads, views or searches. Pretty huge number one might say. But what it really means? There are at least two perspectives on how to look on it. Joe’s and Spotify’s.

source: Spotify

And let’s start with putting aside the question of whether the move could be considered as wise, both financially and in terms of growth of listeners, for Rogan himself. Some rather convincing napkin math already done shows that Joe could have just blew it up (for more see Supercast article). He might stay independent in speech, but with the cost of losing some connection to his audience (comment section on Spotify still does not exist), shrinking the audience he already has due to full exclusivity and leaving the business itself and recording revenue to historically known greedy middlemen. 

Winner winner, chicken dinner

Even when we do not have a precise overlap of Joe’s listeners and Spotify users, it is fair to say that the idea behind the acquisition is pretty simple and straight forward. Offer more nuanced content (such as podcasts which are still on the rise and are so damn profitable) and in outcome profit on people pulled into the platform. Cash both on free users by offering them ads as well as premium users and their subscriptions (not talking about the fact, that eve premium users can hear ads within podcasts streams). Again and again. Reoccurring monetization stripped of Joe. Does not seem like a long-term win for Rogan anymore, right? 

In the new wallet ecosystem, Spotify not only offers people a platform, where they can share their content and listen to the content of others, but it also creates and curates its own content, while running ads or another kind of monetization through their own ads management platform. On top of that, pulling data about all of the processes. 

Yet, the most interesting thing out of the acquisition that might help us foresee the future direction of the platform is still to come. Just look on some key facts and let it sit for a bit: 

1. In the last year, Spotify also acquired two podcast networks (Gimlet Media, Parcat), podcast creation company Anchor and The Ringer, a podcast show. 

2. Joe Rogan Experience is not just a podcast to listen. People love to see it. It is a multimodal podcast – both audio and video. How else could we know about Elon Musk smoking a blunt? Spotify knows that and the deal states, that by the end of the year, the exclusive content will also include video versions of the podcast. 

3. According to The Verge, Spotify is globally a/b testing video podcast formats on its platform. 

source: Joe Rogan Experience #1169 – Elon Musk

It is not rocket science, nor it was not obvious before. But with all of the moves put together, we could see a transition towards a more audiovisual platform. Yes, Spotify has fooled around with some video options in the past. For example, some songs have their clips or video montages, but now comes the real need to actually push the video aspect of the platform in order to have a winning strategy for the market of podcasts.  

source: Ashley Carman / The Verge

It is left to speculations to what degree might Spotify become somewhat similar to YouTube, especially when it comes to audiovisual content. But it will surely try to take as many people as it can during its gentle transformation. Just imagine watching a new video clip of your favourite band on Spotify rather than YouTube. At the end of the day, it is again about time spent on a platform times number of people there. In order to fuel this equation, Spotify has definitely devised a plan of attack: welcome video. In this context, let us phrase the Big Short movie here: „we smell money“!

So if you feel like you might get a bit lost in the jungle podcasts or you would like to know how to integrate them into your marketing strategies, let us know. We have a fully operational studio and a strategic team ready to help you.

 | Jan Král
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