Joe Rogan is a pioneer of podcasting as a medium of information exchange and entertainment. He started recording rambling, tedious 3 hour conversations with his comedy friends from a makeshift studio. Early returns were paltry with his audience numbered in the hundreds. But he persisted, upgraded his hardware and guest list, and by 2019 he was the biggest podcaster by some considerable margin. His shows were downloaded billions of times, and featured long-form interviews with fascinating individuals such as Elon Musk, Jordan Peterson, Bernie Sanders, and Eric Weinstein.
Rogan is not an especially funny, intelligent, or entertaining personality, and his show works best when he allows his guest to speak with minimal interruption. He has indulged some controversy with the cancel crowd over the years by espousing common sense opinions on transgender athletes and allowing speakers across the political spectrum to have their say. Essentially Rogan is a bro, he works out, commentates UFC, hunts deer, is fascinated with aliens, and smokes weed.
Rogan’s podcasts were largely consumed via Youtube, which made him reliant on the continuing goodwill of the platform. We live in an age of digital censorship wherein big tech just deletes voices it does not approve. Many podcasters have spent years building an audience only to find that this generation’s book-burners have taken offence at one of their shows and cancelled or demonetized their channel overnight. Rogan was earning roughly $30 million per year from his huge Youtube following, but would have been wise to build his own platform at this point to avoid reliance on an unstable partner. He could have charged a small subscription fee for access to his creation, posted short clips to Youtube to drive interest, and been the master of his domain. He could have enjoyed complete editorial control and been beholden to nobody, the ultimate position of power.
Rogan chose another path. He sold out. Spotify came knocking at his door with a truck loaded with cash and Rogan could not refuse. He signed an eye-popping deal with the music service for $100 million per year. He relocated to Texas to escape the Californian zombie apocalypse, upgraded his studio, and assured his listeners nothing would change. He would continue to host whomever he pleased, smoke cigars and drink whiskey on air, and remain an uncensored paragon of independence. That was his contract with his audience. The Joe Rogan they knew and loved would not be changed by the money.
When it came time to move Rogan’s back catalogue from Youtube to Spotify, something strange occurred. A bundle of the old episodes failed to arrive at their new destination. This was easily verified as all episodes are numbered. Rogan laughed off any criticism at this point, the new team was working out some technical issues.
Matters escalated when Rogan hosted Alex Jones of Infowars infamy on his show in October 2020. The episode was deleted, and stories emerged of Spotify staff huddled in tears and threatening to quit their posts at the prospect of having to listen to and edit the episode. Rogan kept up his front and assured his audience that all was well. This was a lie. Fragile snowflake millennials had hijacked his empire and irreparably tarnished his legacy.
To date, 42 episodes have been deleted by Spotify. They include discussions with Dave Asprey – the father of biohacking, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, conspiracy theorist and mixed martial artist Eddie Bravo, and professional right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulous.
Editorial control is everything. It has almost been extinguished in the modern media landscape. Today’s ‘journalists’ are largely uneducated corporate shills who follow their scripted lines like trained parrots. The book-burners are on the march. Independent thought is suppressed and erased. The mere mention of election fraud can warrant cancellation. Untested, experimental vaccines are just awesome man, plus they come with a free #sponsored donut. The Chinese Communist Party is a warm-hearted, benevolent government that does not enslave its citizens in concentration camps. Joe and Hunter Biden are classy, virtuous, and reputable men who have not been compromised by scandals of the most abhorrent nature.
Rogan has become the enemy by bowing to its demands. Spotify should be sued for his lies. Shareholders were informed that he would not be censored. That was the strength of the Joe Rogan brand. His acquiescence is damning. He either signed a very poor contract, or rolled over when it was broken. He should set fire to the document live on air. That is the only way to repair his tattered image. $100 million is a lot of money. Many have sold their souls for less. But once your soul has been lost, it is impossible to redeem.
Jackson Byrne – Business Editor