Many longtime fans of Rogan were less than thrilled when he announced that Spotify had acquired exclusive right to stream his podcast, back in 2020. Joe Rogan was a longtime mainstay on youtube – but all of a sudden his star was rising faster than ever.
The deal was initially estimated at over $100 million – and subsequently revealed to be over $200 million. But with the newly acquired stardom came an increased level of scrutiny. While Rogan featured an esteemed scientist Michael Osterholm early on in the pandemic, as the world crisis took its toll he was turning more and more to fringe experts and discussing some less than stellar data. To Rogan’s credit he did try to question some of the claims they made – however it was too little to late and a public call for him to be removed from Spotify started taking shape.
Things didn’t really get momentum until Rockstar Neil Young threatened to take his catalogue elsewhere in a ‘it’s either me or him’ ultimatum. Young ultimately took his business to Amazon music. Spotify shares had dropped – but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Rogan addressed the issue offering an apology and a promise that he’ll be featuring scientists of opposing views closer to each other.
But with the anger of the media came a well calculated cancellation attempt by a lobbyist group. The group had unearthed an old compilation video in which Rogan is seen using a racial slur sans context. They backed that effort with another clip – one of Rogan telling a racially insensitive joke about a black neighborhood resembling Planet of the apes. Rogan once again owned up to his mistake.
But Spotify was really feeling the pressure – and even UFC’s parent company started questioning their involvement with a longtime commentator.
But it wasn’t all bad, despite the Spotify share prices tanking, Rogan was apparently raking in the new subscribers. Recently during a Joe Rogan Experience episode with British political commentator Douglas Murray he came to reveal:
“You have been put through the wringer since we last met,” Murray says. “They did a number on you. Wow.”
“It’s interesting, my subscriptions went up massively — that’s what’s crazy,” Rogan replies. “During the height of it all, I gained two million subscribers … Yeah, [the media] went for it. It’s also fortunate that the people who went for it were CNN. They’re so untrustworthy and people know how biased they are and socially weird their anchors are.”
This kind of a development could possibly be attributed to the Streisand effect – a call to ban something is likely to give that thing or person an increased amount of attention from the public who was unaware but is now eager to check out what the content is all about.