Under the multiyear exclusive license agreement, all existing and new episodes of the “Armchair Expert” podcast, co-hosted by actor-filmmaker-comedian Shepard and producer Monica Padman, will be available exclusively on Spotify beginning July 1. Like its other podcasts, “Armchair Expert” will be available to listeners for free (with ads).
The deal comes after Spotify a year ago inked a similar exclusively for popular (and controversial) podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” and as the company has been greenlighting a steadily growing slate of original podcasts. Spotify also acquired Bill Simmons’ The Ringer last year.
“Armchair Expert” is produced by Rob Holysz, Padman and Shepard. Also under the deal, Spotify has first-look rights for other Armchair Umbrella Network podcasts.
“Moving to Spotify is a huge opportunity for us,” Shepard said in a statement. “I am especially grateful for the work Monica and Rob have done to get us to this point. We are all bathing in the excitement of knowing we will get to do what we love most for the coming years.”
Padman added, “We are very excited to embark on this journey with Spotify. ‘Armchair Expert’ will remain the same show it has always been, but with added opportunities that only Spotify can offer us. We look forward to continuing to bring our human-driven content and doorless bathroom to our audience through this exclusive platform.”
The weekly “Armchair Expert” podcast, which Shepard debuted in 2018, features in-depth interviews with celebrities, artists, authors and experts. Recent guests have included John Legend, Bill Gates, Salma Hayek, Shawn Mendes, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Tom Brady, Leslie Odom Jr., Matthew McConaughey, Dr. Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Alicia Keys, Hillary Clinton and Laura Labo (Shepard’s mother). Another frequent guest is Kristen Bell, Shepard’s wife.
On the podcast, Shepard also has talked about his opiate addiction. Last September, he told listeners he had relapsed after 16 years of sobriety.
“Dax and Monica’s kindred way of engaging their listeners with conversations so honest, authentic and poignant are why listeners come back to them every week,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in announcing the deal. “We made it no secret that we wanted to bring some of the world’s most respected podcasts and dynamic creators to Spotify exclusively, and we are very excited to add ‘Armchair Expert,’ alongside its hugely loyal global following of dedicated fans, to our diverse catalog of phenomenal podcasts.”
Shepard is an alum of UCLA, where he studied anthropology. He is known for his role as Crosby Braverman on NBC’s “Parenthood” and also recently co-starred in Netflix series “The Ranch” and ABC’s “Bless This Mess.” Shepard can currently be seen as one of the hosts of “Top Gear America” in Discovery’s MotorTrend streaming app. He has also starred in films including “Without a Paddle,” “Idiocracy,” “Hit and Run” and “CHIPS,” the latter two of which he also wrote and directed. Shepard is repped by WME.
With the Spotify partnership, Shepard will continue to maintain editorial oversight and creative control of all Armchair productions. Spotify has the same arrangement with Joe Rogan (although Spotify has removed some past episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” from its service).