Joe Rogan’s exclusive Spotify deal is reducing his influence, data study suggests

Podcast guests are now reportedly gaining only half the number of new Twitter followers they would have in the period before Spotify.

Joe Rogan’s $100 million deal with Spotify is costing him and his guests significant influence, according to a study that looked at the effects of the show going exclusive on the world’s most popular music streaming platform.

A new study by The Verge examined metrics across Twitter, YouTube and Google search – for instance, Twitter followers – using Rogan’s guests as benchmarks. The study looked at the changes in those metrics after the guests had appeared on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, comparing them to averages taken from pre-Spotify months.

Spotify makes listener data for podcasts inaccessible; it does not share the number of plays or unique listeners of a programme.

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The study looked at guests with a Twitter following of under 500,000, comparing data drawn from before Rogan went exclusive (December 2019 to November 2020) to after (December 2020 to July 2021).

According to the study, guests that appeared pre-Spotify would expect a surge of new Twitter followers after being featured on the podcast: around 4,000 on average, and as high as 18,000.

That figure has since dipped to about 2,000 on average since the show went Spotify-only, according to data from social media analytics company Social Blade.

When comparing pre- and post-Spotify periods, repeat guests on the podcast – such as comedians Mark Normand and Annie Lederman – also saw a decrease in the number of Twitter followers earned after appearing on the Spotify-only show.

Furthermore, the study found that Google search volumes for Rogan’s name “dipped” after the show went exclusive. The Verge speculates that this could be due to the fact that “inside Spotify, [Rogan’s] controversial comments – often the cause of spikes in interest around Rogan – aren’t reaching as many ears”.

Another reason that The Verge suggests may have led to the podcast’s alleged declining popularity is YouTube. Prior to the Spotify deal, Rogan would share entire episodes of the podcast onto YouTube. His YouTube channel reportedly averaged around 265,000 new subscribers per month in the year before going exclusive. However, that number allegedly dwindled to an average of 100,000 a month after the deal was signed.

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However, The Verge reported that Rogan’s podcast still seems to be reaching more listeners than it did before 2020. It cited the example of podcaster Bret Weinstein, who made three appearances on the show in February 2018, June 2020, and June 2021 and gained 4,000, 20,000 and 18,000 new followers, respectively.

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