Joe Budden knows when it’s time to walk away from things that aren’t in alignment with the brand that he’s worked to build.

During an appearance on the Earn Your Leisure podcast, he explained his rise to the top of the podcasting game. He even shared the details that went into his decision to walk away from what seemed like a lucrative deal with Spotify.

How It All Started

In 2015, Budden joined the podcast industry via YouTube. Since then, he’s become a staple in the space.

“We were uploading on YouTube, just audio… that was a bill. It was all bills, so there was no money,” he told hosts Troy Millings and Rashad Bilal. “Right before that Spotify deal came, I was considering an ad deal, and that deal wasn’t for a lot of money — a quarter million a year — and I was excited about that, not because of the money, but because when you’re running an operation, offset some of these costs, please, like, I can’t keep doing it alone.”

Working With Spotify

Furthermore, Budden revealed that his deal with Spotify came shortly after, and although things appeared great from the outside looking in, this was not the case.

“In business, there are signs, for me, that show faith in a relationship,” Budden continued on the podcast. “And me coming from music, morale is important in any type of creative field, right? So, there were a lot of signs that said, ‘This ain’t gonna go well.’ No matter how big the show was.”

His original contract included a two-year deal that required two episodes per week.

The Joe Budden Podcast was quite a success, becoming a pioneer for future shows in the space.

Walking Away

When it was time to renew the contract, however, Budden was not keen on what the streaming platform was offering, ultimately walking away from an offer that was worth roughly $20 million.

“At the height of the negotiation we were expecting a high eight-figure sum, and it seemed like that would come, but it felt like —  and this is all based off of emotion and assumption — like a call got made,” he recalled. “It was very abrupt. As abrupt as it was for the public was as abrupt as it was for me.”

According to the New York native, the offer was “close to $20 million with a lot attached to it.”

“There’s this thing going on in the industry where they’re misleading you with words. You gotta pay attention to words…words mean things,” Budden expressed. “So, these artists running around talking about partnerships, what the f-ck does the partnership matter if they get paid in perpetuity off everything? Like you can own it, but if you ain’t profiting off of it, then it means nothing.”

He added that ownership was never an issue when it came to the Spotify deal, but other demands like removing all of the videos he shared to YouTube in the process of building his platform were things he could not get behind.

“Ownership was never a problem, but what they wanted to do with me having ownership [was]. It’s like, dog, y’all playing with me. Y’all must think you can piss on me and tell me it’s raining like I don’t understand what’s happening,” said Budden to Millings and Bilal.

The Future Of The Podcast

As previously reported by AfroTech, The Joe Budden Podcast now lives on Patreon, where the entertainer also serves as the head of creator equity.