Is the Deal Hurting His Brand?

It seems like everyone and their mother has a podcast these days, and that’s more than likely a direct result of one man’s massive success with the platform: comedian / actor / UFC commentator / TV show host / martial artist / podcast king, Joe Rogan.

Rogan is easily the most successful prominent podcaster in the world right now, having turned his discussions on a wide variety of topics into big bucks. He became so profitable that he landed a massive deal with Spotify in 2020, but how much did the audio streaming service pay him?

When does Joe Rogan’s Spotify deal end?

The comic signed what’s been deemed a “multi-year” contract with Spotify, one that he said “feels gross” because he landed it during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were having difficulty finding work and providing for themselves financially.

But some are speculating that it may begin to feel gross for Rogan for other reasons, and a lot of it has to do with how Rogan was able to secure such a large following for himself in the first place.

At the heart of commercialism and art is the idea of “selling out.” On one end you have a bunch of weird artists who think that the only way to engage in true expression is to be flat broke all the time and have everyone look at you like you’re crazy and not understand a word of what you’re talking about. “So cool man, starving artist.” Puh-lease.

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On the end of the other spectrum you have folks who are so concerned with making money moves that any semblance of enjoyment or creative expression becomes a vehicle to maximizing profits. Projects become huge advertisements, and individuals will go so far as to hack off parts of their body and surgically shave their bones down in order to “appeal” to folks and monetize their social media feeds.

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Some outlets, like The Verge, are postulating that Joe Rogan’s influence as a podcaster has taken a hit because of Spotify’s “restrictions” on his ability to speak freely. Rogan became an iconoclast, bringing on controversial guest speakers and willingly delving into topics most other programs would never dare to do.

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While he has come under criticism for expressing his ideas and allowing others to do so as well, it only further served to improve his branding and enamor more listeners/viewers to his podcast.

Rogan has confirmed that the streaming platform has indeed censored some of his earlier episodes of the podcast and that Spotify didn’t even want to post some episodes online at all.

However, Rogan said that Spotify went on to become hands-off with his podcast, and despite a public apology Joe made regarding a factually incorrect statement about fires started in Oregon, there doesn’t seem to be any change in his podcast structure, or the kinds of guests he’s bringing on.

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If you’re a Joe Rogan fan and have been keeping up with his podcast, have you noticed a change in its quality or “vibe” at all?

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