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Joe Rogan on massive Spotify deal: ‘It feels gross, especially right now when people can’t work’

UFC 247 Jones v Reyes: Weigh-Ins Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Joe Rogan probably wasn’t hurting for money before he signed a massive deal to move his podcast to Spotify but his wealth definitely multiplied afterwards.

The UFC color commentator reportedly inked a deal worth $100 million to move both the audio and video version of his popular podcast to Spotify with exclusive rights starting later this year.

While Rogan hasn’t confirmed the exact figure Spotify shelled out to land his podcast, he almost sounded conflicted when asked about the gaudy amount of money he was just paid.

“Weirdly richer,” Rogan told the New York Times when asked how much wealth he gained from this deal. “Like it doesn’t register. Seems fake.

“It feels gross. Especially right now, when people can’t work.”

Rogan’s deal definitely came at an odd time when businesses all over the world are reporting record losses due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While once thriving radio stations like KROQ in Los Angeles are seemingly on life support, Spotify’s podcast industry appears to be thriving.

After purchasing Bill Simmons’ Ringer website and its network of podcasts, the streaming giant then paid Rogan a whole lot of money to bring his show and its massive audience to Spotify.

The dividends are already paying off after Spotify added $1.7 billion to its market cap in just 23 minutes after the Rogan deal was announced.

Rogan certainly found his niche in podcasting where he’s been declared the uncrowned king. He’s built a loyal fanbase while booking all kinds of guests — presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders sat opposite Rogan when that sort of thing was still allowed, and he’s constantly fielding questions about a pair of episodes he’s done with Elon Musk.

Rogan still dedicates a lot of his time to MMA where he does his popular “Fight Companion” podcasts alongside regular co-hosts such as retired UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub and grappling guru Eddie Bravo. Even when he was required to socially distance himself from other commentators, Rogan even showed up to serve as color commentator for UFC 249 and it doesn’t appear he’s going to be abandoning that job any time soon either.

While the Spotify deal obviously had something to do with money, Rogan also embraces the change in platform where he’s been promised free reign to talk about whatever he wants without fear of censorship.

It’s something he began to notice after seeing YouTube crack down on several publishers in recent years.

“What Twitter is and what YouTube is are way bigger than a social media company,” Rogan explained. “There is a real good argument that they should be like public utilities.

“What has made society better today than it was hundreds of years ago is not just our prosperity. It’s the evolution of ideas. Anything that wants to limit discussion is dangerous to the evolution of ideas.”

Censorship concerns aside, Rogan promises he will be just as authentic with a nine-figure broadcast deal as he was a few months ago when he was chopping it up with UFC Hall of Famer Rashad Evans or strawweight contender Angela Hill.

“Why would I sell out now?” Rogan said. “You sell out to get what you want.”

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