Joe Rogan Has Shattered The Media Monolith
Rogan approaches topics with good faith, honesty and humor, which stands him at odds with the mainstream media. It's also why the free market has deemed him a raging success.
It was just about two years ago that I wrote an article detailing how the mainstream media was losing the fight of its life against Joe Rogan. In 2022, I also wrote about how CNN had basically crumbled at the hands of alternative media.
On Friday, news broke that Rogan was renewing his contract with Spotify, and that it would likely be worth (another) $250 million.
The hilarious thing is that this renewal and the continued success of alternative media sources, like the very blog you are reading right now, come at a time when legacy media corporations are engaging in mass layoffs and losing both subscribers and viewership.
When I started my podcast in 2018 and this blog in 2021, something Joe Rogan once said echoed in my ears:
“You don’t have to be everything for everybody; you just have to be something for somebody.”
And that was exactly why I wanted to start a podcast. The people that I wanted to hear from in the world of finance, like Peter Schiff and Bill Fleckenstein, were given zero time in the mainstream media.
When they were invited on, they were heckled, ridiculed, and used as punching bags, despite often being the only people correctly predicting how the economy would go and representing the only counterbalance to an always bright, sunny, and cheery mainstream financial media.
I didn’t really care if anybody ever listened to my podcast; I just wanted to have an excuse to invite people on whose perspectives I wanted to hear but wasn’t getting from the mainstream media. In other words, I became part of a media free market that wanted to test to see if my needs were similar to those of other people who followed the news in the industry.
Lo and behold, about five years later, my podcast has over 6 million plays/downloads across platforms. It’s definitely not The Joe Rogan Experience, but it’s something for somebody. It’s the same with my blog. Those who are subscribers here know that I write to discuss issues that are on the fringe—issues specifically not covered by the mainstream media. They are not always worth covering, but some times they are — that’s the risk I run. Regardless, for the most part, you wouldn’t be getting it anywhere else so that makes it worth it for me to hash out. I don’t mind sorting through the muck on “the fringe.”
The crumbling of the once-great media establishments like the LA Times, who announced massive layoffs last week, and CNN, who has fired most of the key staff that was on board a few short years ago, goes to show that the free market has determined there is a significant need for other types of media.
Back in the days of cable news, before streaming video and podcasts, there was really only one way to get your news. Today, the internet has revolutionized the industry and has become the vehicle for us in alternative media. No matter how “fringe” your view of the world is, there is now generally a media echo chamber of some sort you can go lock yourself in when you want to. From there, the free market and consumer dollars will determine who will be raging successes and who won’t.
Generally, when you sign your second $200 million deal in less than a decade, it’s a pretty good sign that the free market has deemed you a success — especially when your biggest former critics, people like Brian Stelter, are walking around unemployed while you do it.
And it isn’t some secret as to why the Joe Rogan Experience has been a success; rather, it’s quite simple: he has a range of guests, explores topics that are off-limits elsewhere, takes things in a calm, relaxing and jovial, humorous fashion, asks genuine, open-minded questions, and generally broaches serious topics with a healthy dose of lightheartedness and common sense.
In other words, Joe Rogan approaches things with good faith and honesty.
And this, pray tell, has been the main differentiating factor between a lot of the alternative media and giant media empires. The world is becoming aware of the fact that the giant media conglomerates all have a narrative—whether it is left, right, or otherwise—and they are all doing the bidding for their respective powers that be. And don’t get me wrong, there is a place for this, but it is among lobotomized automatons who are happy to have somebody else do their thinking for them, not the rest of us.
A free market in any industry does well to allocate resources to where they belong. The mainstream media monolith is seeing its foundation crack because its viewership, the “resources” of the industry, is drifting to other sources.
The beautiful thing about alternative media is that the overhead can be super low, and, in my case, I’ve been lucky enough to not really have to engage in any type of major marketing, save for a couple of emails that I send out each weekend. For the most part, it’s a one-man show. No producers, no multi-million dollar budget, no sponsors to bow to and no “guidelines” about what I can and can’t talk about.
My friend Phil Bak casually asked me on Friday what I thought the marketing budget was for big media corporations.
“Like fifty million a year or something,” I guessed.
“Exactly,” Phil replied to me. “Fifty million fucking dollars. And they can’t find a single interesting thing to say.”
Unlike the dolts eating from the trough of their sponsors to determine their content, I’m lucky enough to get incredible content from friends of mine voluntarily because they, too, have been ignored by the mainstream. If they had opinions that were useless, there wouldn’t be a market for them. Instead, my subscriber list continues to grow.
This means people are thirsty for an honest, open discussion and debate about the merits — especially in the world of finance, where modern monetary theorists proclaim themselves God while in the background their “theory” is self-immolating in plain sight.
And so, less than a decade in to Rogan’s Spotify push, we have seen a major mutation of the media landscape, and my guess is that it is going to continue shifting as the days, weeks, and months go by. There will be more Rumbles, there will be more Barstool Sports, there will be more independent podcasts, there will be more grassroots news organizations, and, generally, there will be more honesty, candor, and fearlessness in the way news is reported. Some of the most important stories over the last two years, including ones about Covid and censorship, have been broken by independent investigative journalists like Michael Shellenberger and Matt Taibbi.
It is no mistake that these fearless individuals, bringing truth to light for those who seek it, have been welcomed onto the very same podcast platform that is earning Joe Rogan another $200 million contract. The poplace is thirsting for truth.
And Rogan is personifying what the free market is telling the mainstream media machine: we’re done with authoritarianism, we can handle the truth, don’t infantilize us, you don’t know what’s best for us, let us make up our own minds and, in not so many words, treat us as adults with sovereignty over our own liberty.
Congrats on the new contract, Joe, and thanks for the inspiration.