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Spotify's Employees Threaten to Strike against Joe Rogan - Thomas Kim from Tabular LLC



So I want to make a quick video about this, even though it doesn't have to do with bookkeeping. Just a few observations from a bookkeeper's perspective. So have you heard of Joe Rogan? Joe Rogan is arguably the most popular podcaster, podcast artist, podcast interviewer right now. I think per episode, which he releases almost on a daily basis, almost on a daily basis, about nine, maybe more than nine million listeners per episode, which is amazing. He probably has a better following, better listenership than all the late-night talk shows combined even maybe, I don't know. Maybe that's too much, but it's there. He's doing better than all the top late-night talk shows. He's doing better than any other podcast. He has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Spotify.


Spotify realizes along with other tech companies that are in media, they've realized that podcasting is the current gold rush. And they realize Joe Rogan is the biggest gold mine in this gold rush. So earlier this year, they struck up an exclusive licensing agreement for a hundred million dollars for X amount of years. We don't know how many years, that wasn't released. The amount is a hundred million for let's say three years, four years, something like that. That's that's what I think it is. I think it's about three years.


But as soon as I heard that deal happening, I knew it was going to be trouble for both sides. This the reason why. Joe Rogan is a conservative slash conservative leaning podcaster, which means that mainstream media and a lot of people in the general public are not going to be happy with the things he say or with the things his guests say. And it's not going to be good for Spotify because they have to weather the storm of a left leaning, liberal leaning, general media and mainstream media. Spotify has a bunch of other well-known pod-casters including, I think Michelle Obama has started a podcast and she's on Spotify. I might be wrong. I'm not sure. I think I read that somewhere. They have a slew of other podcast people. They have this one called The Ringer Network ... just The Ringer; they're a sport podcast network. They're great if you like the NBA, if you like football.


So it's really curious for me to read a news article like this, where the employees threatened to strike if Spotify refuses to censor Joe Rogan. I think the employees were taken aback by certain anti gay, anti trans comments, transphobic comments by Joe Rogan or perhaps a Joe Rogan guest, or maybe both. And the people who work for Spotify are very unhappy about this and they're threatening to strike to stop work.


A couple of things from my perspective is that Spotify bought Joe Rogan so to say. They acquired an asset and now I'm getting into bookkeeping speak, accounting speak. They acquired an asset so that it can boost their revenues, it could boost their profits. And it's also another move to really hurt their competition. When you're in a market, when you're in businesses where it's hyper competitive, it's almost like a double move when you buy something that no one else can have.


Not only can you make money, but it's also equally ... maybe it's equally important that your competitors can't make that money. Because if you can imagine Spotify weren't the ones to buy Joe Rogan, then it could have been YouTube. YouTube could have launched a ... Google who owns YouTube, could have launch a premium podcasting app where it has Joe Rogan. It's going to charge it's listeners $9, $10 a month for, "Hey, come listen to Joe Rogan. We're going to be the only ones having him on. It's going to be $10 a month. And it's going to be on this app called YouTube podcasts." Or maybe Netflix would have gone into the podcast world. We're going to have podcasts and it's going to exclusively be on Netflix, along with your Netflix subscription to watch all these shows and movies. You're also going to be able to watch and listen to Joe Rogan. It's going to be exclusively on Netflix.


So it's a double move for Spotify to acquire them, to make money off of Joe Rogan and also to have the competition to be out of this because it's 9 million unique listeners each episode. That's not nothing. That's a whole lot of people. The employees, I feel like ... I hope that the employees understand what they're doing here, because how can you from a business perspective, how can you not see it as a ... how is this not a biting the hands that are feeding you? How is it not that?


Your employers spent a lot of money and resources and time to see this as a competitive move, as a business positive move. To be a professional is also to divorce yourself from your personal opinions. I'm a bookkeeper. I'm going to help people even if I disagree with their political views because I'm in the business to do bookkeeping. I'm in the business to help small businesses for their accounting. And whether I agree with their political opinions or not, I'm still going to help them because that's just what I do.


And so if you're an employee for Spotify, I mean, I hope you consider the fact that you could get fired for this. And if you're Spotify, if you're the senior leadership of Spotify, there is a lot of things going on here, but a few things that I feel like that needs to happen is one, you need to as a senior leadership, you need to be on the same page that we've bought this, we thought this through, we didn't make this ... we didn't just throw down a hundred billion dollars basically for fun. No, this is a serious business move. This is a serious business acquisition we've made to put a sink in this kind of money to have an exclusive deal to last however many years. And we have to see through it to make the money, to increase our listenership, to increase our premium subscribership. That's how we stay relevant. And that's how we stay in business.


I feel like it's important for Spotify to not make any rash decisions, to not make any quick reactions, to almost make a decision of inaction, to not to ... You know what, we're not going to really react to this because for one, if our employees threatened to strike, we're just not going to respond to that. If they end up striking, we're going to make sure that we're going to have ... whether we have other resources at hand to handle the workload, whether its temporary workers, whether it's freelancers, whether it's outsourcing, whatever it is and make sure that the business is still operating. I looked up where Sweden is located ... where Sweden is located. Spotify is located in Sweden. The headquarters are in Sweden. That's where the app that the company started and in Sweden, it looks like they don't have at-will employment.


At will employment is where an employer can terminate the employee and the employment without a reason, without cause. But because Sweden does not have at-will employment, they have to give cause to every firing, every termination.


I think this is going to be very tricky for Spotify, but you know, if this threatening to strike, if there's key ... I mean, from a business standpoint, if there's key, bad apples acting like this, I think it goes ... probably they're going to have to let some people go. And the reason why they let people go is maybe it's hard ... It's a very important not to state this reason, because I don't know, it just doesn't sound right but of course you have to check in with your attorneys, but it's also important like, "Hey, if you're not doing your job, well, of course we have to let you go."


It's understandable that you disagree with one of our licensed pod-casters viewpoints, but we hired you, not for your political views, we hired you for you to do your job, and we're not here to make you feel comfortable, but like politically, emotionally, we hired you to do a job. So I think it's very important to understand these things. And I think it's very important for Spotify to stay the course, to weather the storm, to not react rashly or irrationally or quickly, and almost decide to be silent, decide to have resources ready if the employees do strike and to make sure that this asset quote unquote they acquired is profitable, is helpful to their business. Thank you for listening.

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