I hope you all had a relaxing holiday break. My body is not ready to be back at work, but Hot Pod won’t write itself. For our first issue of the year, Donald Trump Jr. signs with Rumble, PodcastOne is becoming a separate public company, and De La Soul is finally coming to streaming platforms.
Someone gave Donald Trump Jr. a podcast deal
Our first podcast talent deal of the year arrived early, and it’s a gross one! Axios reported that Rumble, the right-wing alternative to YouTube, has signed Donald Trump Jr. to a multiyear podcast deal. His new show, Triggered with Don Jr., will air live on Rumble twice a week starting January 23rd.
It is not a complete shot in the dark for Rumble, where the eldest Trump spawn already has more than 1 million subscribers thanks to videos with titles like “This Airline DISASTER Is What Happens When Wokeness Rules” and “Now ‘Shark Week’ is RACIST? - OMG.” With such compelling content, it’s no wonder he was able to fetch a seven-figure sum for his new show. It also doesn’t hurt that Rumble has a business relationship with his dad’s social network, Truth Social.
Trump is the latest addition to Rumble’s roster of controversial talent, which now includes Glenn Greenwald and Russell Brand. In the grand scheme of podcast deals, seven figures (which could be anywhere from $1 million to $9.99 million) is not a whole lot. But the fact that Rumble is willing to lay out money for several deals in a span of months reflects the appetite for conservative podcast content.
LiveOne to make PodcastOne a separate public company
LiveOne, the audio and livestreaming company that owns Slacker Radio and PodcastOne, is spinning off its podcast arm as a separate public company. LiveOne will still maintain majority ownership of the podcast company, which is home to podcasters such as Adam Carolla and Jordan Harbinger.
According to a prospectus filed last week, the company listed a few potential benefits of the spinoff. They believe that PodcastOne can operate in the industry better as a standalone company and would be in a position to offer equity incentives to podcasters. They also claim that PodcastOne faces different “opportunities and challenges” than the rest of the business. To that end, Slacker was recently ordered to pay nearly $10 million in delinquent music royalties to SoundExchange.
PodcastOne’s growth could also make it more valuable to the company as a standalone entity. Revenue increased by 64 percent between the fiscal years ending in March 2021 and March 2022. But in order to achieve that, the company also had to spend a lot more and reported a greater loss last year than the year prior ($4.15 million vs. $3.42 million). Under its risks to investors, the company said that it is likely to continue its spending. “We may never achieve profitability, and even if we do, we may not be able to sustain being profitable,” the filing reads.
We have not seen the last of Spotify’s cancellations
In an interview with Variety before the holidays, Spotify content and advertising head Dawn Ostroff addressed the Gimlet and Parcast cancellations that resulted in layoffs of about one-third of those studios’ staff. She not only defended the move, but she also said that Spotify will continue to cancel shows with disappointing numbers “on a regular basis.”
“It’s really just a matter of course in the television business to look at shows that are underperforming and reinvest that into new content,” Ostroff said. “We made some very difficult decisions about shows that we were going to cancel. It was just a practice we had not done.”
Although we may not see the same kind of widespread layoffs we did last fall, it could be a tough year all around. As I wrote last month, the ad market is much softer than it was a year ago, and audio companies will have to be choosier with their spending. Ostroff, it seems, is not being precious about what stays and what goes.
De La Soul finally coming to streaming services in March
After years in contractual limbo, legendary hip-hop trio De La Soul will release their classic albums to streaming services in March. Fans of the group are obviously thrilled to have easier access to their music, but the move also sets the stage for the trio to capitalize on the great catalog boom. “Me Myself and I” seems tailor-made for some viral TikTok nonsense. Maybe it can be the next “Running Up That Hill!”
That’s all for now. See you next week!