/  08.29.2020

For quite sometime, Joe Budden has topped charts with his podcasts and made himself a hot commodity amongst media outlets. While he’s had his pick, in 2018 he signed a major deal with Spotify to expand “The Joe Budden Podcast” to air it exclusively twice a week. Two years later and weeks before his contract renewal, he’s decided to call it quits from the platform. 

“There an entire ecosystem you have to respect if you looking to feed the soil. Everybody’s not looking to feed the soil, some are just looking to take the fruit,” Budden spoke to Spotify’s disregard for the podcast’s individuality. “Spotify only cared about our contribution to the platform.”

Budden announced the news Wednesday (Aug. 26) on an episode of his show, which was published on YouTube. During the new podcast episode, he spent a large amount of time discussing the timeline behind his two years with Spotify, most of which were he felt undermined and undervalued. “I don’t want to make this sound like it’s a bad thing at all,” he acknowledged that just two years ago, the podcast world was completely in the hands of Apple Podcasts. However, once Spotify got a hold of his show, the industry began to widen to other contributors and creators, as podcasting became a go-to for entertainment and news. “This is a great thing. We both ran into the small percentage that we never thought we would,” he added. “We hit all that shit!”

Noticing the growth of that medium, Spotify used “The Joe Budden Podcast” as a prime example of what they had to offer the industry as they networked for more content. The first of many for Spotify, Budden claimed to have helped the platform design his contract because they didn’t even know where to begin. Despite feeling shortchanged, he signed the deal with the promise of branding for an undisclosed amount of money. Once the deal signed, however, Budden’s price went up, and companies began throwing millions at him from all directions. He quickly learned, “One million puts you in different rooms.” Budden added: “It was raining M’s. M from Viacom, M from REVOLT!”

At the eight-month mark of his venture with the platform, Spotify asked for an early contract renewal, which Budden “abrasively” shot down to see how Spotify intended to honor the rest of the contract already in play. With companies like Viacom and REVOLT offering millions, Budden realized how much money his time was worth. “My time is my inventory. What I’m spending the most time on is my podcast. For me, it’s my most valuable asset,” he affirmed. “Also, for me right now, I’m being paid the least in it.” Emphasizing how much his time is valued in other places, “I beat it everywhere. REVOLT, I get paid more than this shit!”

Budden also shared that Spotify allowed almost no time off, no incentives, no bonuses and though he, Rory, and Mal bargained; their counteroffers were still shot down. So, when the first anniversary of the signed contract crept up Sept. 2019 — after earning the platform nine figures — Budden claims he and his co-hosts were given nothing to honor their work, but instead, a lecture on how they calculate the numbers. After two years, the numbers Budden, Rory, and Mal have amassed are unmatched, he claims. Despite exceeding Spotify’s expectations for audience reach by 900 percent, the platform hasn’t shown the guys the proper respect — and by that he means dollars.  

“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 closed.

Watch the “State of the Culture” host discussing his departure from Spotify below.




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