Let's get Spotify out of the way since there's no way to discuss the power moves made in podcasting in 2020 without putting it at the top.
Spotify paid $100M to license "The Joe Rogan Experience," in a deal announced this May. More than a decade's worth of episodes from Rogan's podcast showed up on the service in September and became exclusive to Spotify earlier this month. It's hard to think of an analogous move elsewhere in media where the most popular show in a still-young medium became exclusive to a subscription service. The closest I can come up with is when Howard Stern left terrestrial radio for Sirius (now SiriusXM) in 2006. More on Stern in the next section.
Spotify purchased podcast advertising platform Megaphone for $235M. The company will likely help Spotify fine-tune its dynamic ad insertion (DAI) algorithm, which automatically places relevant ads in the middle of podcast episodes. The move helps Spotify satisfy both advertisers and podcast hosts, while allowing the company to take a chunk of the revenue for itself.
Barack and Michelle Obama will also be producing content for Spotify for years through their Higher Ground Productions outlet. "The Michelle Obama Podcast" launched exclusively on Spotify on July 29. Kim Kardashian West also signed a deal with Spotify to produce a criminal justice reform series through its Parcast studio.
For more about Spotify's ascent to the top of the podcasting game, check out Wednesday's issue.