Joe Rogan Says His Controversies Had A Major Effect On His Podcast

Joe Rogan said his recent run of controversies had a major effect on his podcast numbers. This is pretty surprising all things considered

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Joe Rogan went through a few rounds of negative press within the last year, having stirred up some pieces of controversy on his popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. In the wake of some off-color remarks, some vaccine controversy, and a rehashing of racial slurs he’d used in the past, there were many calling for his removal from Spotify, where his podcast is exclusively housed.

One would have thought that with all of this negative press and a whole host of people calling from Rogan’s head, the podcast would have taken a hit, maybe even been removed by Spotify altogether. That appears to be far from the case. In fact, according to Joe Rogan, the exact opposite seems to have happened. He recently let on that he’s seen a massive uptick in subscribers to the podcast over this time period. 

While talking with political commentator Douglas Murphy (via The Hollywood Reporter), Joe Rogan got into some of the numbers around his podcast and what he said he’s seen in terms of growth over the last year or so. The two talked about some of what Joe Rogan had gone through in terms of others wanting him canceled and Murphy questioned whether it had any effect on the podcast as a whole. Rogan was adamant that it hadn’t, saying, “It’s interesting, my subscriptions went up massively — that’s what’s crazy. During the height of it all, I gained two million subscribers.”

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This number hasn’t been corroborated or supported by Spotify which doesn’t publicly release the numbers around The Joe Rogan Experience or other podcasts, but The Hollywood Reporter confirmed with industry sources that the podcast had seen a steady uptick in subscriber numbers since hitting the platform. Though there didn’t seem to be a singular spike in listens around the time Joe Rogan was persona non grata in certain spheres. So there could be a mixed message in this with the controversies not necessarily being the 1:1 factor in why Joe Rogan continues to gain popularity. But non-fans of the Rogan can’t be happy with the numbers in the aggregate either way. It seems he’s only getting to be a bigger voice.

All of this originally stems from a couple of notable things that happened with Joe Rogan over the past year. For starters, last fall he was diagnosed with Covid-19 and said he had not been vaccinated. While describing treatments he was taking, Rogan mentioned being on Ivermectin which some news outlets had labeled as a horse-dewormer (it’s been approved for and used by humans). He had also had on a number of guests who some claimed were spreading misinformation about the pandemic. This led to artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell asking for Spotify to remove their music. 

Additionally, a video began to circulate of times Joe Rogan had used racial slurs on his podcast, calling for renewed cancellation calls. Rogan apologized for these though that still left many non-plussed about the tone of his podcast overall. In the end though, it doesn’t appear that Joe Rogan has had any career downturn from all of this. If anything it seems like the graph is pointing up.