Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast The Joe Rogan Experience was the No. 1 podcast on Spotify in 2022 globally, the streaming service said Wednesday, despite wide-ranging protests from Spotify artists and personalities earlier this year about comments made on Rogan’s show about Covid-19 and the host’s use of racial slurs.
The Joe Rogan Experience was also the No. 1 podcast on Spotify in 2021 and 2020, when the show began being exclusively distributed by the streaming service.
Spotify tracked data from January 1 to November 26, a spokesperson told Forbes.
At least $200 million. That’s how much Spotify’s deal with Rogan is worth, according to the New York Times. The deal gives the streaming service exclusive rights to the show until 2023.
Rogan drew criticism early in the year for featuring Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough on his show, who used the platform to spread misinformation and unsubstantiated claims about Covid-19 and vaccines. Several artists, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, removed their music from Spotify in protest. Meghan Markle, who has a Spotify-exclusive podcast, expressed concern to the company. As ire grew at Rogan for helping to spread the disputed Covid-19 claims, clips of him using racial slurs re-surfaced. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said stopping Rogan’s show was not the answer, but Rogan chose to remove over 100 episodes of the show from the streaming service. A content warning was added to episodes of his show that discussed Covid-19. In an apology video, Rogan said he would seek out more balanced viewpoints in the future. Though Spotify does not release podcast streaming numbers, it’s estimated Rogan reaches 11 million people per episode. In July, Rogan said he had declined repeated requests for former President Trump to appear on The Joe Rogan Experience. Despite the earlier controversy, Rogan did not shy away from dipping his toes into other conspiracy theories, including a right-wing talking point that schools were providing litter boxes for students who identified as cats, though he later walked back the claim.
Other top podcasts globally on Spotify this year included Call Her Daddy, Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain, Caso 63 (All Languages) and Crime Junkie, respectively. Markle’s podcast Archetypes, which premiered in August, did not crack the top five, though it had sometimes topped Rogan in Spotify’s daily podcast charts.