“Everybody’s not looking to feed the soil, some are just looking to take the fruit.”

The Verge*: Joe Budden is taking his podcast off Spotify because the company ‘is pillaging’ his audience

He takes the announcement as an opportunity to scorch Spotify and detail his history with the company, which, in the years since he signed his deal, has become a sizable competitor in the podcast field. He claims his show exceeded Spotify’s audience reach expectations by 900 percent to the point that his listeners crashed the platform.

Still, he says he never received a bonus, and the company wouldn’t allow him and his team to take vacation days on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, because that would have required them to miss two episodes. While the company wouldn’t pay them actual bonuses, it offered to give them Rolexes instead, only to say the watches they picked out were too expensive. Then, he suggested Spotify give money away to their fans for Christmas instead. The company declined.

“That was the first time it dawned on me that Spotify is pillaging,” he says. “You pillage the audience from the podcast, and you’ve continued to pillage each step of the way without any regard for [the fans.]”

[…]

He claims to be the guinea pig for Spotify’s podcast ambitions because he was already established and brought audience to Spotify. He proved the model of exclusives could work for the company, he says.

“Spotify never cared about this podcast individually,” he says. “Spotify only cared about our contribution to the platform.” The company wanted him to read ads, and he refused, making it one of the only shows to not be monetized on the platform.

He says he and Spotify differ on where “podcasting is taking us for the next five years.”

“I am not going to succumb to any bad deal that is not working favorably toward the people who have created that path.”

Broadly, he questions the entire podcasting system and what a podcast stream is worth, especially given that musicians and record labels have already established those terms with streaming platforms. That number, for podcasters, still isn’t standardized.

As the article goes on to detail, a lot of other podcasters who were wooed by Spotify are now questioning who these exclusivity deals really benefit. No surprise, the answer seems to be Spotify, and only Spotify. I’m not opposed to advertising in podcasts, but prefer when it’s the podcaster handling those. Spotify wants to take both the decisions about what advertising the run and the profits from said advertising, and pay the podcaster — I suspect — as little as they can get away with.


(*I hesitate to link to articles on The Verge because that site is stuffed full of advertising and tracking. If you don’t have an ad-blocker installed, consider yourself warned if you click through to the original piece.)

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