The Margin: Who is Joe Rogan, the man who just scored a reported $100 million deal with Spotify?
5 things to know about the controversial podcaster who’s interviewed Elon Musk and Alex Jones
A whole new audience is about to experience Joe Rogan.
The popular podcaster sold his 11-year-old “The Joe Rogan Experience” series to Spotify
in a licensing deal that’s reportedly worth more than $100 million, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Rogan’s full library — which adds up to almost 1,500 episodes, which weren’t available on the streaming service before — will hit Spotify beginning Sept. 1. Episodes of the video podcast are currently available on YouTube, but will move off the Alphabet
platform to be exclusive to Spotify by the end of the year.
Rogan, 52, told his millions of fans via Instagram
on Thursday that “it will be the exact same show” that they’ve come to love, emphasizing that, “I am not going to be an employee of Spotify,” and he’ll be working with the same production crew.
“The only difference will be, it will now be available on the largest audio platform in the world,” he added. “It will be free to you; you will just have to go to Spotify to get it.”
But for those who aren’t among the reported 190 million people who download “The Joe Rogan Experience” each month, here are five things to know about the stand-up comic and former Ultimate Fighting Championship interviewer who’s become Forbes’ top-earning podcaster.
You might recognize him from TV. Before launching “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast in 2009, Rogan appeared on Fox’s “Hardball” as a star basketball player, and on NBC’s “NewsRadio” as a handyman and conspiracy theorist. He was also the host of “Fear Factor” from 2001 to 2006, and he’s done stand-up specials for Netflix
and Comedy Central. He cut his interviewing chops doing color commentary for the UFC, and was named MMA Personality of the Year four times by the World MMA Awards.
He’s also married to model-turned-producer Jessica Ditzel, and they have three daughters.
He was already making $30 million a year before joining Spotify. Rogan topped Forbes’ inaugural highest-earning podcaster list earlier this year, pulling in a reported $30 million and running the No. 1 podcast in the world, according to Apple
“He’s delivering scale and engagement,” Tom Webster, senior vice president at Edison Research, told Forbes. “He’s the No. 1 in terms of reach in the U.S.”
He’s praised Bernie Sanders, but will probably vote for Trump. While Rogan has expressed some liberal views, such as supporting the legalization of marijuana, he recently revealed that he will probably vote for Trump this November because he just “can’t vote” for presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden. “I’d rather vote for Trump than [Biden]. I don’t think he can handle anything. You’re relying entirely on his cabinet,” he said. “If you want to talk about an individual leader who can communicate, he can’t do that. And we don’t know what the f— he’ll be like after a year in office.”
Yet in January, he suggested that he would vote for Bernie Sanders, largely because the liberal Vermont Senator has been “insanely consistent his entire life.” The Sanders campaign was quick to tweet out this unofficial endorsement its official Twitter
feed at the time.
He appeared to smoke pot with Elon Musk on the air. One of Rogan’s most notorious interviews came in September 2018, when Tesla
CEO Elon Musk sat down and appeared to smoke weed with him on the air. (It should be noted they were filming in California, where recreational marijuana is legal.) Watch the video below; the smoking begins about 2 hours and 10 minutes in.
He’s drawn backlash for giving Alex Jones a platform, and making offensive remarks. Rogan has been a controversial figure, in part for his interviews with the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos and axed Google engineer James Damore. Perhaps even more notorious than his Musk Q&A, however, were his two marathon interviews with InfoWars founder and conspiracy theorist Jones, who has said the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 children was a hoax. The second Jones interview was a five-hour marathon that saw him claim that the U.S. government was making intergalactic deals with aliens by using psychedelic drugs.
Rogan has also made plenty of his own controversial remarks on his show and in his stand-up that have been called racist, sexist and transphobic by critics. They include comparing a black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes,” and saying that mixed martial artist Fallon Fox, who is a transgender woman, is “a f—ing man.” He has said such remarks were taken out of context.