Why Joe Rogan is a Billionaire

[The Anxious Entrepreneur and Forget the Business Plan are available on Amazon.com]

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As we’ve heard, Joe Rogan’s exclusive multiyear deal with Spotify will see the company pay him about $100 million for an exclusive licensing of his podcast.

This is according to The Wall Street Journal, an anonymous source (theirs), and a calculation of the podcast’s performance metrics.

I think it is more than $100 million per year.

And talking of ‘anonymous sources,’ anyone can be an anonymous source – and even found. This ‘anonymous source’ giving his/her quote of “$100 million” really helped The Wall Street Journal make more money from breaking the story than other publications, and whom were forced to link the amount back to The WSJ.

Joe topped Forbes’s  Highest-Earning Podcaster list – at number one – for 2019 at $30 million earned revenue.

The figure could be more or less, as it is tricky to make such estimations.

Remember when Kanye West told Forbes that they can’t count?

Still on ‘can’t count,’ it hard to do estimations of reading ads on podcasts.

YouTube’s ad revenue is also tricky. There are bids for ad spots and at varying CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for different audiences.

Midroll – the podcast ad agency – says ads fees range between $18 and 50 CPM.

Let’s estimate a bit. In 2019 he said his podcast gets 190 million downloads a month. On normal, he has 3 ads per show.

Let’s do estimations at average, low and high CPM’s of ads read on the show.

Suppose – let’s average Joe Rogan’s minimum and maximum CPMs and the downloads by half – each of the three ads on the show pay him $34 (average of $18 and $50), and with downloads of 95 million (average of 190 million), multiplied by 12 months, it is $ 38 760 000 per annum in revenue.

At lowest CPM of $18, with 190 million downloads, it is $41 040 000 year in revenue.

At highest CPM of $50, with 190 million downloads, it $114 000 000 a year in revenue.

This does not include YouTube ads revenue. We will leave it out.

The truth is somewhere between Forbes’ estimations and these figures.

Who is Joe Rogan

He is the host of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast – also known as the JRE.

It is the biggest in the world according to Apple (and in 2019 as he said, he gets around 190 000 000 downloads per month).

The show’s YouTube channel has over 9 million subscribers.

Joe Rogan is also a comedian, UFC commentator and former host of Fear Factor.

The deal with Spotify

The deal entails the streaming service exclusively providing the stream for the podcast. It arrived on Spotify in September and by the end of the year, it will be removed from all other streaming services.

It is unknown how many years the ‘multiyear deal’ is.

Segment clips from the individual podcast will still be available on YouTube going forward. This is a beautiful funnel to lure people to go listen to full episodes on Spotify, and while they are there, they will be lured into subscribing to the premium music service.

Why Joe Rogan is likely a billionaire?

Metrical behaviour of podcasts as an asset

Joe Rogan certainly makes millions from the podcast alone yearly.

A podcast is a special product asset in the category of movies, e.g. unlike a sneaker brand.

Its behaviour gives it a higher ‘Convenience Metrical Interest or Advantage.’

In the book’ Township Biz Adjacent’ and upcoming book ‘Innovate Next,’ I  define a product with a Spaza Metrical Interest or Advantage, as a product that is more often a B2C (Business to Consumer) and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) product than a B2B (Business to Business) product – and one that has an advantage over other products in that it has more than one demographic, as well as intervallic interests and uses.

Metrical advantages of a podcast:

  • Once it is published, it is thus available for streaming to any people and in their own time.
  • It does not expire and can be used repetitively (many times a day, weekly, monthly, yearly, and whatever).
  • Depending on the topics, and especially if it has evergreen content – e.g. stories, motivation, humour and education, it will be used repeatedly at any time of the day by anyone in the world, and perpetually.
  • For a comparative example: sneakers brands need constant newer designs. Once manufacturing stops, they cease selling.
  • A podcast has low overheads. I think the staff is paid per month and or per podcast recorded. And I am sure very decently.
  • Possibly most of the money (and plus old catalogue revenue) goes to Joe Rogan and whoever he wishes to bestow such privilege to.
  • The JRE podcast has already reached a critical mass. Almost all new episodes will reach 1 million views just because it has active users in the millions.
  • Also, old episodes still get thousands to millions of views on YouTube and thus generate passive income.

What is the fair price to pay for Joe Rogan’s podcast?

Well, we know he won’t sell it. And certainly, he only licensed it to Spotify. He did not sell.

Now also, Spotify is not doing him a favour. They need his audience for future revenue.

They will run ads on the podcast.

They bet on converting some of the millions of his audience to subscribing to Spotify.

Joe Budden (the rapper) calls this ‘pillaging.’ He said Spotify – after they didn’t agree on terms of renewing their licensing agreement for his podcast – only cared about ‘pillaging’ money from his audience, i.e. they ‘they only cared about converting his podcast audience to subscribe to their paid music streaming service.’

Anyhow, this is the revenue Spotify will use to pay bonuses to the apparent employees that wanted Joe Rogan’s Podcast censored – to the extent of apparently striking.

Since the podcast will be removed from all platforms and stream exclusively on Spotify, it loses the passive income that it would have generated from YouTube. Therefore, the losses must have been factored with real math.

And of course that he makes millions already from the podcast.

That is why I suspect Spotify could be giving Joe Rogan way more than $100 million per year.

Comparatively, Howard Stern’s contract with SiriusXM is about to expire and apparently, they are talking a renewal of $120 million per year. His current contract is rumoured at around $100 million per year.

SiriusXM had over 34.9 million paying subscribers at the end of 2020 and approximating $8 billion in revenue

Spotify shares went up by over $3 billion after Rogan announced the exclusive deal in May.

More than direct revenue from ads they will run, I think Spotify wants the JRE to pillage premium paying subscribers.

So now, with the closely above factor, and the others, why would Joe and team accept an offer of less than $100 million licensing per year?

This is just licensing. The podcast proved did well outside licenses.

And why won’t Spotify agree to a $100 million licensing fee per annum?

It is maybe a small price to pay for an asset that makes your market value jump to about $3 billion within hours of an announcement.

A podcast that surely makes millions in dollars already.

A podcast with which you can ‘pillage’ more premium subscribers.

It is with these reasons I say The Joe Rogan experience is worth over $1 billion.

Plus also, it is America, the world of overvaluing companies.


The only source who could be reliable with how much Joe Rogan is getting from Spotify is, Joe or Spotify.

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Disclaimer: I wrote this article, however with fair reasoning logic, for content marketing purposes.