Users Accuse Spotify of Trading HiFi For Joe Rogan Amidst $250M Podcast Deal

Spotify recently started a new deal with Joe Rogan worth $250 Million
Spotify recently started a new deal with Joe Rogan worth $250 Million

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They listed this as one of the platforms’ worst decisions ever.

A Redditor, u/skaertus, recently raised concerns over Spotify’s recent strategic decisions, starting with the streaming service’s $250 million agreement with Joe Rogan.

This ignited a conversation over Spotify’s alleged prioritization of Rogan’s podcast over music-centered platform improvements such as the promised HiFi feature.

Criticism Over Spotify’s $250 Million Deal

Redditor skaertus' original post regarding the issue. (From: Reddit)
Redditor skaertus’ original post regarding the issue. (From: Reddit)

The OP expressed deep disappointment over Spotify’s recent decision to allocate a substantial $250 million towards Joe Rogan’s podcast.

This disappointment revolves around the disconnect between Spotify’s actions and the expectations of its music-focused audience.

“I know Joe Rogan’s podcast is hugely popular and that he is controversial. But the thing is: I simply do not care about podcasts so much. I have listened to a few, and some of them are OK. My main focus with a music streaming service is, well… music.” he elaborates.

However, the OP’s dissatisfaction grows further considering the timing and context behind Spotify’s recent deal.

He highlighted how bad it looks that it comes at a time when Spotify announced significant layoffs and has yet to fulfill its promise of launching a HiFi plan for superior sound quality.

Spotify Hi-Fi was originally set to be released with the Supremium plan.
Spotify Hi-Fi was originally set to be released with the Supremium plan.
For reference, Spotify laid off 17% of its global employees at the end of 2023 to “cut costs”. Its HiFi tier was also announced in 2021, but is yet to materialize.

He also criticized Spotify’s decision to spend $250 million on a single podcast while setting aside other major improvements for the platform.

“This is all very disappointing to me as I was expecting some improvements in terms of music service. Perhaps use a better AI algorithm to suggest new songs? Offer a plan with HiFi quality? Offer spatial audio, with Dolby Atmos and 360, like its main competitors are doing? Spotify is doing nothing of this.” says the OP.

The post also talked about the controversial nature of Rogan’s podcast, which adds to the OP’s frustration.

“(Spotify) is spending a significant amount of money on a single podcast. A podcast that has proved so controversial as to cause artists such as Neil Young to move away from the platform.

I am not taking sides, and I do not care about these discussions, but Spotify’s music catalog became poorer with the absence of artists who are actively contrary to Joe Rogan.” the OP adds.

The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Spotify.
“The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast on Spotify.

Ultimately, the OP finds Spotify’s move to be ‘very disappointing’. He says it’s a sign that the platform is switching priorities from music streaming to a general audio network.

“It seems like streaming music is not such a profitable business and Spotify may be looking into alternatives to make more money. Turning itself into some sort of huge audio social network, perhaps, blending music, podcasts, audiobooks, and everything else related to a listening experience?” he asks.

Spotify Users Speak Out

The reaction from the Reddit community has been largely negative, with many users echoing the OP’s sentiments.

People sharing the same frustrations with Spotify's recent move.
People sharing the same frustrations with Spotify’s recent move.

Comments range from frustrations over unfulfilled promises like the HiFi option to broader critiques of Spotify’s strategic choices.

“I’ve been waiting for a Hi-Fi option for years. Instead, they spend $250 million on an id*ot who has spread lies about COVID, trans people, etc.” laments one user.

This sentiment is shared by many other users.

Some even contrast the financial rewards given to Rogan with the meager earnings musicians receive from streaming, highlighting the disparity in Spotify’s treatment of content creators.

“In the meantime, they are no longer paying artists for their first 1000 streams, they are raising the price for premium, and as you mentioned they keep firing employees. So yes, their priorities are all wrong.” says a user.

Another user calls for a return to Spotify’s earlier days when the platform’s algorithm excelled at music discovery.

He suggests a simplified focus solely on music with easily switchable modes for discovery and personal listening.

User wishing that Spotify remains focused on its main offering: music streaming.
User wishing that Spotify remains focused on its main offering: music streaming.

Despite the predominantly negative feedback, some users speculate that Spotify’s decision is backed by thorough analysis and research. They imply that the deal with Rogan could be financially justified.

People defending Spotify's decision, explaining JRE's popularity and possible revenues.
People defending Spotify’s decision, explaining JRE’s popularity and possible revenues.

What You Need to Know About the New Deal Between Spotify and Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan

Spotify’s recent agreement with Joe Rogan, valued at up to $250 million, is designed to extend and broaden the reach of “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

“The Joe Rogan Experience debuted in 2009, has been a Spotify exclusive since 2020, and we’re just getting started.” says Spotify.

This multiyear deal includes an upfront payment and a revenue-sharing model tied to advertising sales, highlighting a strategic shift in content distribution for Spotify. Unlike the prior exclusive arrangement, the new deal allows for the podcast’s distribution across various platforms. This includes YouTube in video format, thereby expanding its audience beyond Spotify’s user base.

“The Joe Rogan Experience,” has released over 2,200 episodes and stands as one of the platform’s most popular podcasts.

“JRE remains podcasting’s king, consistently ranking as the most-listened-to podcast globally, and our users have ranked the show as Spotify’s Wrapped top podcast each year since 2020.” adds the platform.

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