The Podcast News 28: I Don't Think Joe Rogan's Show is That Great, Personally

Are we tired of talking about Joe Rogan and Spotify yet?

It’s Sunday, May 24th.

This week’s featured image: Heading down to bike the beach trail in Santa Monica.

Here’s the latest in podcast news and tutorials, starting with the big news of the week: Joe Rogan’s podcast/show is going to be exclusive on Spotify by the end of the year.

Enter...The Spoticast?

From Tom Webster’s new Substack newsletter:

There have been a lot of spicy hot takes about Joe Rogan’s recent deal with Spotify from podcasters. The arrangement basically pays Rogan (who has the most popular podcast in America, according to Edison Research) a reported $100 million to pull his show from the podcast ecosystem (and, notably, YouTube) and offer it exclusively on Spotify.

Most of the hot takes have been, at least, congratulatory in that Rogan works hard, does a great show, and good on him for gettin’ dem checks, as my spirit shaman Jalen Rose would say. Rogan is 2020’s analog to Howard Stern, and absolutely the content you would want to acquire to build out a platform.

But the deal is not without its critics, with some saying the deal will kill Rogan, or podcasting, or both, or the whole planet.

On the Spotify-Joe Rogan Deal and the Coming Death of Independent Podcasting

From Matt Stoller:

Yesterday audio streaming giant Spotify announced a deal with podcast king Joe Rogan, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Rogan will be paid more than $100 million over several years in return for making his insanely popular show exclusive to the Spotify service. This is huge news. Investors were pleased; Spotify’s stock was up 8.42%, which is roughly $2.5 billion, or twenty five times what Rogan will be paid. From the perspective of someone who appreciates independent voices and an independent press, however, I’m concerned.

First, Spotify is gaining power over podcast distribution by forcing customers to use its app to listen to must-have content, by either buying production directly or striking exclusive deals, as it did with Rogan. This is a tying or bundling strategy. Once Spotify has a gatekeeping power over distribution, it can eliminate the open standard rival RSS, and control which podcasts get access to listeners. The final stage is monetization through data collection and ad targeting. Once Spotify has gatekeeping power over distribution and a large ad targeting business, it will also be able to control who can monetize podcasts, because advertisers will increasingly just want to hit specific audience members, as opposed to advertise on specific shows.

The open podcast ecosystem is dying — here’s how to save it.

From Nathan Bachez:

It’s time to compete. Not complain.

Years from now, we’ll look back on this week's exclusivity agreement between Spotify and Joe Rogan as a turning point for podcasting. Most likely, this deal will come to symbolize the moment when the open, RSS-based podcast ecosystem began to collapse. It’s a nightmare scenario for people like Overcast’s founder Marco Arment who depend on open podcasting.

But, remote as the chance may seem, there’s still another possibility. Years from now, we could look back on this week as the moment the open podcast ecosystem finally got its act together and decided to compete.

I’ve got a few thoughts about all this, but Ben Thompson and John Gruber said it better in this podcast episode.

So take a listen to that, and let’s look at what else happened this week in podcasting.


We’ve finally got some hard numbers from Luminary (and they aren’t great)

From Hot Pod 259:

Luminary’s hard numbers. We finally have some concrete numbers on the paid podcast platform’s performance, courtesy of Bloomberg, and they aren’t pretty. Last Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that, before the pandemic, Luminary was spending more than $4 million per month but generating under $500,000 per month in revenue, off what sources say is only about 80,000 paying subscribers.

There are three kinds of questions that pops up most in these emails.

  1. Did Luminary’s big pre-launch fundraise ever make sense?

  2. Does Luminary still have a viable path forward?

  3. Why would anybody still put money into this thing?

Later in the article, a look at a new monetization option from Patreon:

On Monday, Memberful, the Patreon-owned membership facilitation platform, rolled out a new feature that enables publishers using its infrastructure to add podcasts into the pool of exclusive products that they can offer to paid subscribers.

In doing so, Memberful joins an increasingly crowded pool of private podcast RSS feed providers that also includes Supporting Cast, Supercast, Substack, RedCircle, and even its parent company, Patreon. It’s an area of podcast tech that’s become increasingly active as more podcast makers grapple with the importance of diversifying away from purely relying on advertising, a state of affairs that’s only been intensified by the economic effects of the pandemic.

The question I keep asking myself is “How many subscribers do I need to make podcasting a part time income without sucking the joy out of it?” Personally, I’d much rather be creating for my audience instead of relying on advertisers for income.


How the ‘Call Her Daddy’ Feud Boiled Over

In just two years, “Call Her Daddy,” a raunchy podcast about sex, dating, culture and life in New York, became a cult sensation. This week, it descended into a fireball of chaos and internet drama.

Two friends, Sofia Franklyn, 27, and Alexandra Cooper, 26, started the show in 2018 after coming up with the idea over a vacation. The podcast was acquired by Barstool Sports about a month after the first episode aired and quickly began raking in hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

But in the past month, the “Call Her Daddy” empire has tumbled, exposing the inevitable issues media companies face when their star employees morph into powerful influencers.

Dave Portnoy, the Barstool Sports founder and president, posted a 30-minute tell-all episode to the “Call Her Daddy” podcast feed, calling Ms. Franklyn and Ms. Cooper “unprofessional, disloyal and greedy” before revealing the full details of his side of the messy contract dispute.

I’d recommend maintaining control and ownership of your show’s RSS feed, otherwise you might end up with some stranger talking to your listeners through your podcast feed. But I would also like to point out that this whole fiasco has been damn effective marketing for the show and Barstool Sports. I don’t think I’m the target audience for the show, but I know a lot more about it after this episode.


The Two Reasons Most Podcasters Give Up

From Jeremy Enns on his blog:

There’s a lot that goes into creating a successful podcast, from understanding how to record great sounding audio, to coming up with high-quality content on a consistent basis, to understanding how to effectively market the show and expand an audience.

With all the moving parts and so much that needs to be done on what is often a short schedule, it might be no surprise that sooner or later, most podcasters hang up the mic and decide that it’s just not worth it to continue.

It seems like any number of reasons could contribute to the decision to wrap up a show, but the more I think about it, the more it boils down to two key contributors.

The good news is that if you can address just these two areas of your show, you stand a much better chance of creating a show you’re proud of and building an audience around it.


How a Hit Entrepreneurship Podcast Creates Show Notes That Don’t Suck

An interesting look at how to create show notes and episode titles.


Closing Thoughts

Here’s a question for you: Which podcast monetization method is the most appealing to you?

Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe out there and I’ll see you next week.

Aaron Dowd
Los Angeles, CA
May 24, 2020

Thanks to the Podcast News members for their support: Kato, Alexander, Norman, and Don.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter and would like to support it, consider becoming a supporting member or sharing it with someone who might like it.