When Spotify inked a deal two years ago to make The Last Podcast on the Left an exclusive to its platform, the creators of the comedic horror series got an earful from the show’s fans. Now as more podcasters ponder whether exclusive deals are the right move long-term, the trio behind The Last Podcast says they will return to a wider distribution strategy beginning in February.
The move comes as part of a three-year deal with Stitcher. In addition to making the show available via RSS feeds to most podcast apps, Last Podcast hosts Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski will also host a new weekly live radio show on SiriusXM’s Faction Talk, a comedy and uncensored talk channel, where they will take calls from fans and listeners. SiriusXM is the parent company of Stitcher.
"This podcast has seen us all grow and change over the years, and as our needs continue to evolve we cannot stress enough the importance of being accessible to our listeners and having access to a truly unmatched community of fellow podcasters," said Zebrowski. "We’re beyond thrilled to work with SiriusXM in this next step of our podcasting journey. Through this agreement we can meet our loyal fans where they are and keep our unique, morbid vision alive."
As part of the deal Stitcher will have exclusive rights to manage all audio and video ad sales for the podcast. The show will also be made available ad-free on Stitcher Premium.
“Last Podcast On The Left is the preeminent comedy horror podcast, and we’re thrilled to have them join us,” said Megan Liberman, Senior VP of SiriusXM’s talk programming. “Their meticulously researched stories combined with the charm and dark wit of the hosts makes for a hilariously morbid and even educational good time. Adding a show on SiriusXM will give them one more way to connect with their community of listeners.”
The Last Podcast on the Left covers dark subjects spanning Jeffrey Dahmer, werewolves, Jonestown, iconic hauntings, the history of war crimes, and more. In addition to success through its traditional podcast channels, the show has seen recent success with its live show tours.
Spotify has signed a roster of exclusive rights deals during the past year, with shows including The Joe Rogan Experience, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, and Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper. Spotify CFO Paul Vogel told an investor conference last month that such shows help bring people into Spotify. “Some of the most expensive content has actually been the most productive for us in terms of our cost per time spent metrics,” he said.
But it has lost shows too. Last Podcast on the Left becomes the second show to walk away from that arrangement, following a split of Joe Budden from Spotify last year.
In a Twitter message about the impending change, the show said that it does not mean that it will no longer be available on Spotify, but rather it will be “one of the many ways” fans will be able to access the podcast. That brought reactions like from one fan who said they prefer to listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts and the change will mean they will no longer need to subscribe to Spotify.
What impact the move to Spotify had on Last Podcast is not entirely clear. Prior to going exclusive the show had 2.5 million downloads per week.