Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Joe Rogan proves the paywall gives and takes

Joe Rogan shows that going behind an exclusive paywall doesn’t pay in every respect. He has a secure contract that pays him likely way more than he was making before (otherwise why do the deal) but his influence in the social sphere seems to have waned. He gained money but lost popularity. It’s the same thing that happened to Howard Stern (Stern doesn’t seem to care). Was it worth it?

Joe Rogan makes an exclusive deal with Spotify for a reported $100 million dollar payday. No one seems to know how long the contract goes for. I’m going to guess it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 to 5 years. Let’s go with 5 years just for kicks. That’s $20 million a year. Does anyone know what Rogan was making prior to his exclusive deal? The only estimate I was able to find was this from a site I never heard of.

Joe Rogan has an impressive net worth He has multiple income streams to get him to that number. However, the major source of income for Rogan is his controversial podcast. Three years ago, it was estimated that he made $5 million per year from YouTube revenue and sponsored content.

How does Joe Rogan make money from his podcast? –

Let’s say that number is true. Rogan’s deal with Spotify then, even at a 5 year term, looks like a genius move. Secured income that isn’t subject to the whims of advertising algorithms. In the short term this is a no brain move and one that anyone would have made if they’re thinking only purely of money. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The Verge is reporting that Joe Rogan’s influence has been cut in half after he went behind Spotify’s paywall. Guests on his show aren’t getting the same bump in exposure as they did in the past and that could have an impact on Rogan’s show in the future. If guests promoting themselves can’t get the same juice there’s less incentive to be a guest.

However, a new data investigation by The Verge finds that the powerful podcaster’s influence has waned since he went behind Spotify’s wall. His show has declined as a hype vehicle for guests, and Rogan’s presence as a mainstay in the news has plummeted.

Because Spotify doesn’t share how many plays each podcast gets, or how many unique listeners regularly tune in, we looked instead at a secondary metric: how much of a promotional boost Rogan gives his guests. To do this, we pulled data from the analytics tool Social Blade to track the Twitter following of every guest who went on Rogan’s podcast between December 2019 and July 2021. Guests generally see a surge of new followers after appearing on the show, with some gaining as many as 18,000 new followers in the week following their chat, and that effect has grown over time as The Joe Rogan Experience gained popularity. While we can’t attribute every new follower to Rogan — guests might have been on a media tour to promote a new movie or book, for instance — the bump after a Rogan appearance is constant.

We found that prior to going exclusive, from December 2019 to November 2020, Rogan’s guests could expect to gain around 4,000 Twitter followers in the week after their episode premiered. After he went exclusive, that number declined by half to around 2,000, suggesting a drop in listeners. To isolate the effect, we focused on people who had under 500,000 followers when going on Rogan’s show, since bigger names — someone like Dave Chappelle or Elon Musk — were likely to bring more attention to Rogan than vice versa.

Joe Rogan, confined to Spotify, is losing influence – The Verge

To me going with the Spotify contract was well worth the loss in influence and popularity. Joe Rogan is 52 years old and who knows what he might want to do next. The Spotify deal gives him the freedom to make that decision when the contract ends. $100 million buys a lot of security for him and his family for generations. Constantly running on the popularity hamster wheel only drains you in the end.

What I find interesting is that this proves that even the biggest talents lose something by getting embedded into a silo. For the independent content creator, who isn’t making Rogan type money, losing your influence will cost you more in the end.