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Spotify podcast star joins rival Patreon after claiming his audience was 'pillaged'

Podcaster Joe Budden will bring his show to Patreon - YouTube
Podcaster Joe Budden will bring his show to Patreon - YouTube

One of Spotify’s biggest exclusive podcasters is set to join rival service Patreon after claiming the Swedish streaming service had “pillaged” his audience, the Telegraph can reveal.

Joe Budden, a US broadcaster who rose to prominence as a rapper, pulled his show - The Joe Budden Podcast - from Spotify in September. At the time he claimed that his show had exceeded Spotify’s expectations by 900pc but that he still couldn’t receive a bonus.

Budden's show largely focuses on hip-hop music but also discusses basketball, politics, and social issues. His guests have varied from massively from US disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci to musician Chane the Rapper. While Spotify did not break out figures for his show during his two year stint he was listed as the platform's top podcast in 2019. His YouTube channel has 907,000 subscribers.

He also claimed that Spotify had tried to “take the fruit” of the podcasting industry without “feeding the soil”. Budden alleged that Spotify never cared about the podcast and that it had pushed him to read ads on the show.

In August, Budden said that Spotify offered to buy him and his team Rolexes in exchange for his performance. When he told the company to give away the money to his fans he said the company refused, at which point he said he realised Spotify was “pillaging” his audience.

At the time, Spotify told The Verge that it had wished to keep Budden on its platform.

“As Joe referenced on his show, we made him a considerable offer — one that was significantly larger and many times the value of the existing agreement and reflective of the current market and size of his audience,” the company said.

“Unfortunately, we could not come to terms and we respect his wishes to find a new home for his show.”

The Telegraph has contacted Spotify for a comment on Budden’s allegations.

The Swedish audio company has invested heavily in exclusive podcast deals. It agreed a $100m with Joe Rogan as well as other big name agreements to host Kim Kardashian and Michelle Obama’s shows.

Spotifly’s ultimate goal is to become the world’s “number one audio platform” and placed a $1bn bet on achieving that.

Budden is taking his show to Patreon, a US service that provides tools for podcasters to run their own subscription services. In addition he will also join the company as “head of creator equity” and hopes to change the system for creators.

Jack Conte, chief executive of Patreon, said that Budden understood the “discrepancy between what creators are worth and what they are paid”.

“From music to podcasts, Joe has found himself reaching millions of people and getting a tiny fraction of the value he has created,” he said.

“That’s exactly the problem that Patreon set out to solve — and Joe wants to help.”

By bringing his show to Patreon, the company claims he will be able to “circumvent” the challenges of the creative system and connect directly with listeners.

“I’ve seen firsthand that exploitation is everywhere in this industry – it’s become the status quo, and I’m tired of it,” Budden said of his appointment.

“I’m tired of constantly fighting for independence and I’m tired of proving my value over and over again. This partnership with Patreon marks a new era for the creative economy: one where independence comes first and creators get paid – something that shouldn’t be revolutionary.”

Budden said his deal with Patreon would be the “new blueprint” for creators.

News of Budden’s move comes as Spotify announced it had hit 155 million paying subscribers, blowing past analyst expectations in the process.

Revenue at the Swedish firm rose 17pc to €2.17bn (£1.57bn) for the three months to the end of December. The number of active Spotify users also rose 27pc to 345m, the company said.