Joe Budden Says Spotify ‘Pillaged’ And ‘Undermined’ His Podcast And Announces His Exit

The rapper made the announcement to his audience on Wednesday.

Despite being one of Spotify’s biggest podcasters, Joe Budden has announced that he is parting ways with the streaming giant in less than a month.

Budden shared the news during the latest episode of The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory and Mal on Wednesday (Aug. 26). 

  • He informed listeners that as of Sept. 23, “I cannot tell you where this podcast will be. But as it stands, I can tell you where it will not be, and that is Spotify.”

    Budden also took a  moment to air out some of  his frustrations with Spotify. He indicated that his show was treated as a guinea pig for Spotify to test the waters as podcasting gained popularity.

    “Spotify never cared about this podcast individually,” he said. “Spotify only cared about our contribution to the platform,” adding that the company “undermined and undervalued” his show. 

  • Budden said “it dawned” on him “that Spotify [was] pillaging,” the show after him and his team was not offered a bonus when the show performed beyond expectations during its first year.

    Instead, according to The Verge, the company offered them Rolexes only to say later that the watches they picked out were too expensive. When Budden suggested that the company do a Christmas giveaway for fans of the show, Spotify declined. He also said the company wouldn’t allow him and his team to take off for vacation on Christmas and New Year’s Eve as it would have caused them to miss filming two episodes, The Verge, further reported.

    “You pillage the audience from the podcast, and you’ve continued to pillage each step of the way without any regard,” Budden expressed. 

  • Budden also pointed to the “wage disparity” between how much he was offered in his deal compared to the amount that Spotify paid to acquire other podcasts. Budden first launched his podcast independently in early 2015 with his friends and co-hosts Jamil “Mal” Clay and Rory Farrell. In August 2018, he inked a two-year exclusive deal with Spotify for the show. 

    In the years since, Spotify has rapidly expanded its podcast offerings by acquiring other studios and inking deals with other big names such as Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan, and Kim Kardashian. As recently as February of this year, Spotify paid nearly $200 million to acquire The Ringer.

  • According to Variety, The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory and Mal was the No. 1 podcast on Spotify at one point and is currently ranked No. 15, but Budden doesn’t feel that he’s getting his fair cut. He also expressed that the same executives who were in his corner, are no longer with Spotify, which in turn has changed his relationship with the company.

    Though, he clarified, “I don’t wanna come off as angry, upset, or bitter because the reality of it is we both hit our goals.” 

    Budden has yet to state what direction he will take his podcast after his deal with Spotify ends.


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