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Spotify signs Joe Rogan as it ramps up podcast efforts

The deal will bring one of podcasting's most famous voices exclusively to the streaming platform, which has been on a podcast spending spree.
UFC 220: Makhachev v Tibau
Joe Rogan in the commentary booth during the UFC 220 event in Boston on Jan. 20, 2018Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Spotify has made another big podcast deal.

Spotify said Tuesday that it has signed a multiyear licensing agreement with "The Joe Rogan Experience," a deal that will bring one of podcasting's most famous voices exclusively to its platform.

The deal furthers Spotify's ambitions to make inroads into the podcasting business and is a landmark moment for the audio streaming industry.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but two people with knowledge of the deal who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly said Rogan would almost certainly make more than $100 million. The deal is contingent on some performance targets, though it was unclear for how long Spotify would have the license.

"The Joe Rogan Experience" has long been one of the most-searched-for podcasts on Spotify, the company says, and consistently ranks in the top five of Apple podcasts. It is currently at No. 2.

Starting on Sept. 1, it will only be available on Spotify.

Apple has dominated the podcast industry thanks in large part to its sizable user base of iPhone users. But with the podcast market gaining momentum in recent years thanks to a growing listener base and interest from advertisers, other companies have begun to make investments.

Spotify has emerged as the most aggressive Apple rival in the podcast world. It's made a bet that by cornering the podcasting space and signing exclusivity deals with famous podcasters, it can drive more people to abandon Apple and subscribe to its service.

In recent years, the Stockholm-based company — mostly known for streaming music — has invested well over $500 million in podcast content, including nine-figure deals to acquire Gimlet Media and Bill Simmons' The Ringer.

The Rogan deal is slightly different. As a licensing deal, Rogan will maintain ownership of his work and can eventually take it elsewhere.

Spotify won’t have any control over the content on Rogan’s show. Nevertheless, it will find itself more closely tied to a program and a personality who is known for drawing criticism, most recently last year when he interviewed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

“The podcast is moving to @spotify!” Rogan wrote on Instagram. “It will remain FREE, and it will be the exact same show. It’s just a licensing deal, so Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show. They want me to just continue doing it the way I’m doing it right now.”

Spotify's stock price rose 9 percent after the Rogan deal was announced.