Does Token CEO Erika Nardini Think Barstool Sports Should Follow Joe Rogan’s Lead And Move The Entire Platform To Spotify?

No, she obviously does not. Now that we got out of the way, let’s get into this Joe Rogan news.

Rogan announced yesterday that he has signed a deal to move his ridiculously popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast (which is currently number two behind Call Her Daddy, a podcast that you may not have heard of which the intellectual property is owned by Barstool Sports), which has been said to get over 190 MILLION downloads per month and has over 8 million YouTube subscribers, to Spotify beginning in September. The show will exclusively exist on Spotify beginning in 2021.

Rogan’s listeners are known for their loyalty to him. Will some people who are Apple Podcast hardos be upset? Yes. Did some people complain in the mentions calling him a sellout? Also yes. Do I think the podcast is going to suffer massively due to this choice? Of course not. When you build up the fanbase he has, most of the people will follow. What he will lose in Apple Podcast snobs, he’ll likely gain in Spotify snobs who didn’t listen before since he was not available there.

Apple will obviously survive without Rogan. As Erika mentioned on today’s Token CEO episode, Apple doesn’t seem to care too much about their podcast service anyway. They do little to promote them and the business support side is nearly nonexistent (even for giant creators). They still control the vast majority of the market (85-90 percent) anyway and don’t seem too stressed.

I think the really interesting point here is the impact this is going to have on the Youtube creator landscape. Rogan is a HUGE player on youtube. The Joe Rogan Experience YouTube channel currently has 8.41 million subscribers, which is more than the NFL, MLB and NHL. A ton of people, especially younger generations, consume a huge amount of content on YouTube, and default to that platform above all else if something is available there. Rogan seldom gets less than 1.5 million views on his episodes here, which is no joke. While Rogan said he will still be releasing clips and portions of the show on YouTube as part of the Spotify deal, full episodes will no longer exist there.

Rogan has built his audience on being controversial, unabashed and blunt. He has on conspiracy theorists  and controversial political icons like Alex Jones (who is permanently banned from YouTube) as guests. He smokes blunts with Elon Musk. He prides himself on being unfiltered. YouTube has been in the news recently for seemingly upping their censorship, specifically content related to conspiracy theories and some of these other topics Rogan himself is not afraid to get after.

One (me) has to wonder if (aside from the dump trucks full of cash probably unloading outside of Rogan’s house right now) YouTube’s persistence in limiting certain types of controversial content helped influence Rogan’s decision to leave that platform behind as a medium for full episodes.

Spotify is clearly trying to carve out a giant chunk of the podcast space, recently purchasing The Ringer for nearly $200 million and throwing what is guaranteed to be an absolute BAG at Rogan. Will other popular creators, especially those who dabble in more controversial spaces, feel their editorial freedom may be in trouble on YouTube and start looking elsewhere for exclusive deals?

Time will tell, but this just feels big and may be the beginning of Spotify’s huge push to become the place for podcast consumption.

Final point: How is it possible that Rogan is pulling in 190 MILLION downloads a month but his listeners don’t have a nickname for themselves? Someone should come up with that.

Listen to today’s Token CEO episode for Erika's take on Rogan's choice here: