Joe Rogan: politics, gossip (and fake news). The king of podcasts divides the stars

from Andrea Marinelli

His no vax sympathies drove Neil Young and Joni Mitchell out of Spotify (which pays him $ 100 million for his show exclusivity)

All, or almost all, against Joe Rogan. After Neil Young, who in recent days had announced his farewell to Spotify, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren, singer-songwriter and member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, have also decided to withdraw their music from the streaming platform, guilty of host the much-followed and controversial Joe Rogan podcast and thus spreading lies and misleading claims about the pandemic, as 270 scientists, doctors and researchers stated in an open letter. Even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, express doubts about the presence of disinformation on the platformbut for now they intend to honor the deal they signed to produce a podcast.

All, or almost all, against Joe Rogan, then. Only that of Rogan – that over time it has discouraged the vaccination of young people, promoted unauthorized treatments against Covidand has invited numerous no vax exponents, such as ultra-conservative MP Marjorie Taylor Greene – not just any podcast, but the most followed on the platform in all of 2021: jumps from entertainment to politics, from interviews to monologues, has an average of 11 million listeners per episode and, to have it exclusively, Spotify paid $ 100 million last year.

Since then, however, the platform first suffered an internal uprisingthen that of the scientific world, finally that of musicians, the core business of an app that has focused on podcasts to expand its market but which, after hiring America’s most famous, saw its market capitalization shrink by 25%. We want creators to be free to create, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explained a while ago Financial Timeswho asked him what he thought of the Rogan’s decision to invite the king of conspiracy theories Alex Jones, far-right radio host and white supremacist. We don’t want to say what they have to say.

Three quarters Italian and the rest Irish, born in Boston but moved to Los Angeles in 1994, Rogan is 54 years old and one of the most powerful and influential characters in the American media. She started out by starring in old TV series and hosting a survival reality show on Nbc, Fear Factorwhere it reached the first million viewers. He made himself for a name with ultimate fightingthe mixed martial arts that he was passionate about – as a boy four years in a row Massachusetts taekwondo champion – and which he commented on TV for a decade, while carrying on his career as a stand-up comedianthe American-style live cabaret that forged its style for its endless live shows, some as long as 3 hours.

In 2009 he then founded his podcast, the Jre snubbed by quarrels but become a cultural phenomenon, even reaching 190 million downloads per month. A huge following that Rogan owes mostly to his hybrid positionswhich help him bridge the deep political divide that splits the United States in half, a rarity these days: in favor of gay marriage, citizenship income and recreational drug use, but also the right to possess weapons.

Definitely libertarian and a bit left-wingan early supporter of Bernie Sanders, Rogan detests identity politics, cancel culture and – of course – politically correct. attracted to issues of social justice, but in a way that doesn’t scare conservatives. And so, in a decade, an audience of very loyal bipartisans has built up who has followed him on all platforms, where it has raised hundreds of millions of listeners and dollars, up to the exclusive with Spotify. Today it broadcasts from Austin, the capital of Texas that has become a mecca of the tech world, where it moved into a $ 14 million mansion last year.


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