It’s been exactly one week since Charles Wesley Godwin sat down for an appearance on the biggest media platform on the planet.
The Joe Rogan Experience has long been a springboard to success for comedians, political commentators, fitness gurus, scientists, and artists, with many people outright saying that Joe Rogan’s invitation to talk was single handedly responsible for pushing their respective career into a new orbit.
Granted, many of the major success stories are comedians, which makes sense given Rogan’s actual job (or the closest thing to it) is doing stand up, but many others from an extremely wide range of backgrounds benefited greatly from their appearance on his podcast.
One of the most underappreciated group of guests he’s brought on are country music artists. Chris Stapleton, Zach Bryan, Sturgill Simpson, Luke Combs, Oliver Anthony, and Jelly Rollhave all made the trip to Austin to talk, but last week he reached deeper into the well and brought on someone who is experiencing great success, but remains extremely underrated in the mainstream: Charles Wesley Godwin.
Naturally, many people thought this appearance would launch CWG to the moon, so I decided to dive into the numbers and see what the actual response was to his appearance now that a full week has gone by.
Here’s what I found.
This is where I thought CWG would get the biggest bump.
Thanks to SocialBlade, we know on January 9th, before the episode went live, Charles had 144,267 Instagram followers. Today, he has 148,625, a 3% increase. While we don’t have years of back-data available to create a long-term trend, we do have data from December 19th, 2023 onward to compare against.
In the 22 days from Dec. 19 to Jan. 10, CWG went from 141,447 followers to 144,267, working out to a weekly average increase of 897. In the seven days since his appearance, he’s gained 2,820, over 3 times his recent average.
That’s an okay increase for sure, but it’s not as much as I would have thought. Granted, Rogan didn’t post a picture on his own Instagram which certainly would have lead to more people throwing CWG a follow, but still, I thought he’d see more of a jump.
On X, Charles had 41,966 on Jan. 9 and has 42,325 today, an increase of just 359. This is still higher than his weekly average since Dec. 19 of 259, but again, a bit disappointing given Rogan’s reach.
Obviously, any increase in CWG’s social media presence is a good thing and he’s not an artist that banks his career on engagement and viral videos, but still, I was personally hoping the Rogan bump would be a bit higher in this realm.
While many people go directly to Spotify (more on this later) to listen to an artist, YouTube is another place where we can get current data to compare his pre and post Rogan performance.
Again using SocialBlade, we see that CWG had 34,700 subscribers and 9,491,577 total views as of Jan. 10. Today he has 35,700 subscribers and 9,800,305 views, a 2.9% and 3.3% increase respectively.
Like with social media data, we have access to information from Dec. 19 forward, so we can do a comparison of average weekly growth prior to his Rogan appearance. Fortunately, he did not post in this timeframe, so we don’t have to account for an expected spike in viewership due to a new video.
In the 22 days from Dec. 19 to Jan. 10, CWG saw subscribers increase by 500 and views increase by 509,107, averaging out to a weekly increase of 159 subscribers and 161,989 views. The week following his appearance on Joe Rogan brought in 1,000 subscribers and 308,728 views, a 6.3x increase in subs and a near doubling in views over his recent average.
While this isn’t a life changing avalanche of new viewership, undoubtedly there were thousands of people very interested in listening to Charles Wesley Godwin and a sign that his appearance got people to go check out his music for the first time.
Just to add a fun note, in the episode they play a video from Charles’ first ever gig at a lingerie show in Estonia. Before the episode it sat at around 2,400 views and today has over 4,000, about a 67% jump, meaning lots of people went out of their way to go watch it, which makes me very happy and I’m sure it makes Charles a bit embarrassed given his reaction to it on the podcast.
For all of its downside, there’s no denying that Spotify is king of music streaming. Admittedly, it’s pretty much impossible to find artist data, but fortunately we had a bit of warning that CWG was going to be on Rogan, so I manually went and wrote down the number of streams on every song he’d released to that point.
Does that make me a nerd? Maybe, but I’m glad to have done it so we can see the actual changes that happened post Rogan.
Admittedly, the data isn’t perfect. While we can do a straightforward comparison of streams before and after, we’re not able to see how this compares to his recent average listenership. However, it’s worth taking a look at anyway, so here we go.
Prior to the episode being posted, CWG had 1,406,877 monthly listeners on Spotify. Today he has 1,450,336, an increase of over 43,000 people, which is no small feat and the first truly material increase, in my opinion, from his JRE appearance.
Diving into each album is where things get a bit hairy but still tell a promising story.
Before the episode, CWG’s latest album Family Tieshad a total of 16,766,702 streams. Today, it has 17,747,882, an increase of over 980,000.
The album was put out last year on September 22nd, giving us 110 days between the release and his Rogan appearance. Over that entire timeframe, the album racked up a weekly average of 1,066,972 streams. In the week since his appearance, the album streamed 981,180 times, which is around 86,000 streams below its overall weekly average.
But this doesn’t tell the entire picture. We don’t know what the number of streams over the past few weeks was and it just logically makes sense that as the album gets older, less people will listen. It’s possible it picked up in popularity after his appearance, but we just don’t have the data to show that, although looking at his older albums makes this theory very plausible.
His 2021 album How The Mighty Fallwracked up a total of 29,468,582 streams before the episode and today sits at a total of 29,818,575, an increase of 349,993 streams. There was 796 days between its release and his Rogan appearance, working out to an average of 259,146 streams per day, which means this week it was streamed over 35% more than its overall weekly average.
His debut album, Seneca, was released 1,790 days prior to his Rogan appearance, averaging 129,208 streams per week. Since the 10th, it picked up an additional 393,437 streams, which is over 204% more than its overall average.
So yeah, it’s safe to say there was some event that drove thousands and thousands of people to start consuming CWG’s older music en masse, and I think it’s safe to say it was Joe Rogan.
While an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience is certainly still a bellwether affair that will expose the guest to untold millions of listeners, it doesn’t guarantee that person will be immediately skyrocketed to superstardom.
Charles Wesley Godwin experienced a bump, sometimes a significant one, in all measurable categories following the episode, but as we saw in the data, it’s was by no means a life altering increase. Now, he can certainly parlay this into greater success and who knows what other media outlets or festivals or what have you will reach out to Charles to make something huge happen, but the appearance on a podcast alone, at least in this case, wasn’t the “one moment, overnight success” that some may have thought it to be.
And you know what, that’s perfectly fine.
Charles is a grinder, always has been and always will be. It’s where the passion in his delivery, the depth in his lyrics, and the charm in his music comes from. I can say as a fan that while we want him to have immense amounts of success and earn everything he can in this life, we don’t want him to lose that edge that makes him such a special artist.
So kudos for getting yourself into the big leagues, CWG. You’ve earned it. We’re beyond proud and will continue to do whatever we can to spread the word.
But as a lesson to everyone else, getting to the big leagues is only half the battle. Then, you’ve got to maintain your place.