Joe Rogan used to have one of the most popular podcasts on the internet, but in mid-2020 he signed an exclusive deal with Spotify, reportedly for $100M.
Therein lies the problem.
I don’t fault Joe for taking the deal. If Spotify offered me $100M for almost anything, I’d do it. However, I love the open nature of the internet, and this is another little thing that is making the internet crumble a bit more.
As it’s core, a podcast is just another type of RSS feed. By design, RSS feeds are completely free to create and consume, and they’re part of what make the internet great.
With a traditional podcast, anyone can make a show, and anyone can sign up to listen to any show they want. It’s perfect. With Joe Rogan, though, that’s no longer the case. His show is still free, but you need to be on Spotify to listen to it. There is no more RSS feed, so there is no more podcast. Call it a “web show” or whatever you want, but it’s no longer a “podcast”.
You can’t listen to it on Apple podcasts, or Google, or Pocket Casts, or any of the hundreds of other applications that can pull literally any other podcast. Your only choice is to use Spotify for it.
I don’t fault Spotify — they’re trying to gain a bigger audience.
I don’t fault Joe — it’s $100M, after all.
I don’t listen to his show anyhow (quite a huge time commitment), but that’s not really the point. I just don’t like the precedent, as it’s yet another small blow to the open nature of the internet.