The Friendly Futurist Monthly
3 min readMay 25, 2020

In case you don’t know, the $100 Million USD exclusive content deal between Joe Rogan and Spotify is the best news since sliced bread. Those who know podcasts, however, could have seen it coming.

The reason being: Spotify is the second-largest podcast platform after Apple, with an estimated 16% of the world-wide audience share in 2019. Over the last couple of years Spotify has been investing heavily in their podcast department, starting with original content, for example in Australasia they signed the satirical news outlet Betoota Advocate for a weekly comedy show, and New Zealand comedian Rhys Darby has released an exclusive Spotify podcast “Aliens Like Us” amongst others.

Spotify has gone on further with the acquisition of publishing platform Anchor, the recording app SoundTrap and podcast publishing house Gimlet Media amongst others. Their faith in the growth of the medium is tremendous and now they have signed their marquee star.

Remember Joe Rogan is at the top of the podcast tree for a reason: He has been hosting his show, The Joe Rogan Experience since 2009. This enables him to build his 1 million weekly downloads organically because he has been sticking to his formula and been consistent with it over a period of time.

What this also means is an overall trend of podcast platforms behaving like traditional media conglomerates. In an age where trust in traditional media is at an all-time low. What had started 15 years with the invention of YouTube, has seen the defragmentation of the media landscape becoming mainstream. The oligarchs no longer control the messages, the media landscape has become democratic.

This trend also represents a split in the road in terms of monetising podcasts. On the one direction, according to eMarketer, worldwide advertising spend is to tipped to reach US $1 Billion dollars in 2021. The other direction sees the subscription model for services which Spotify receives most of their revenue.

This is also exciting news for those at the bottom starting out. With major platforms starting to invest in original content, will mean that the dollars will start to filter down. So if you are consistently offering value for your audience in a niche deemed profitable and marketable then signing a lucrative deal will now be something to aspire to. Or is it?

As we move into a post-capitalist society the need for independent media will grow, and perhaps as media consumers, we need to ask the question: Is allowing advertising in podcasts worth it? Or are we better off to subscribe to our favourite podcasters and platforms for a small monthly fee? In order for the content remains objective and free from control from rich corporations. Think of the subscription model as co-operative media and this way freedom of the press will remain intact. Because the podcaster is not vowing down to pressure from their sponsor and therefore the integrity of their content remains whole. In other words not selling out!

Finally, all I can say is watch this space, as according to Todd Maffin on Today in Digital Marketing podcast, Apple is now beginning to follow Spotify’s lead and to looking to produce original podcast series. Add to the mix Amazon is also producing exclusive podcasts through its Audible stable. For now, it appears that the podcast genie is slowly becoming to come out of the bottle.

Viva la revolution!

You can check out the next episode here: 12 Hats Radio

12 Hats Media Lab is a local independent media agency based in Mandurah, Western Australia if you wish to donate or tip to keep us running you can do so here: Support 12 Hats

Photo credit: The Joe Rogan Experience
The Friendly Futurist Monthly

Dave Monk, Budding Digital Anthropologist and Futurist. Producer of The Friendly Futurist Podcast, Creative Director of Podcasts West.