Last month, it was announced that Steven Crowder was leaving Blaze Media and would become a free agent going into 2023. Naturally, this was over money which we speculated the nature of the revenue Crowder brought in for The Blaze being upwards of $30 million of which he probably sought a bigger slice. 17 days into the new year, and Crowder remains unpartnered despite having one of the largest media followings in Conservative media. In his most recent upload, Crowder commented on the nature of conservative media, showing the contractual clauses featured in a contract he received.
To his discredit, he does not name names, but one can only imagine that Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire was on the shortlist given their dominance in media and Crowder’s visible consternation, perhaps to the point of tears, over these negotiations.
For Crowder, or anyone else at The Blaze, there is a lost element of control when going to another content platform. One of Crowder’s grievances was the lost rights. Based on the language, the contractor (most likely the Daily Wire based on dollar amounts) would own and control his social media platforms and podcasting channels. The same would apply to his merchandise (CrowderShop), his image/likeness, and presumably his actual content. In other words, Louder With Crowder would be owned by Daily Wire or Fox News, not Steven Crowder. Contrarily, The Blaze was a distributer and Crowder, along with other hosts, were contractors with The Blaze, which allowed them more liberty in their content.
The Fee Reductions and penalties appear to have been the primary grievance Crowder had against the content. For years, he has committed to being against live-reads on his show, refusing to do more than one per episode. Evidently, the Shapiro’s of the world want their live-reads read and will penalize him for not reading enough of them in satisfactory manner.
192 episodes annually is 16 episodes a month, meaning his workload would be 4 episodes a week, but no longer can he take off entire months and no-call-no-show without approval or advance notice, because he would no longer work for himself. He appeared to take issue with the amount of content required being worse than corporate media and a precursor to burnout. This comes across as disingenuous and hyperbolic given his general tardiness and lack of audience communication pertaining to delays or missed shows. Crowder complained at length to the penalties, like losing $100K if he got hit by a car or took a sick day. Again, 192 episodes is very feasible, especially if he chooses to work Fridays. The language of the contract indicates that he would be paid $100K per episode which means his contract is in excess of $19.2 million per year before calculating signing bonus, merchandise, show budget, and other contractual incentives.
The exact nature of monthly and quarterly content is unclear though Crowder implicated that this could include his “Change My Mind” segments. Presumably, this would also mean Crowder would be required to participate in “Backstages” and partake in other special streams.
Big Tech Censorship and Revenue
The reduction in fee for revenues pertaining to demonetization and censorship from Big Tech Platform, in which violations Big Tech censorship would result in lost fee. Content strikes result in a 25% fee reduction. This explains the reticence and outright avoidance of industry leaders like Daily Wire seem to have from discussing controversial issues surrounding Covid, the poisonous vaccines, and election fraud, amongst other issues. Getting flagged by the algorithms is costly, and Conservative Inc. penalizes its creators rather than supports them in this contingency. This “self-censorship” by conservative media received much ire from Crowder.
Crowder, who is not monetized by YouTube, would automatically be losing 20% of fee before his first show, which amounts to $3.84 million. From a business standpoint, there is a certain legitimacy since Conservative Inc would own his channels and outlets and therefore would be paying him from the proceeds those channels generate, so thus it makes sense for that to negatively affect Crowder’s bottom line, but this otherwise represents DW (or whoever) attempting to treat Crowder as any other content creator and lock him in a creativity box where should he step over the line, which he already has going in, they will penalize him. For a commentator of his magnitude, it also appears as a loophole to escape paying him the full value of the contract, so while they dangled a larger sum, they implemented a clause to reduce their fee by an arbitrary 20% with no ability for Crowder to regain YouTube monetization.
This is where Crowder should have named names, but the major players are all obvious culprits. As for the Ad Drop clause, it is unclear whether Daily Wire penalized their content creators when Harry’s Razors dropped Knowles and they created their own private label. Other Daily Wire sponsors, like Black Rifle Coffee Company have already dropped conservatives for supporting Kyle Rittenhouse. It’s unclear how consecutive or concurrent these various penalties are or are allowed to be.
In this, we can appreciate Crowder’s work exposing how the media sausage is generated. Admittedly, his brand of “conservatism” impotent and basic, which is perhaps why he is in the position to entertain an offer by the presumed Daily Wire. Moreover, he contradicted Christian teaching in his gatekeeping on abortion and celebration of homosexuality. It also could be said that Crowder avoided YouTube landmines, which drives him to use preferred pronouns. This would be a form of self-censorship within his content. Nevertheless, this could open his eyes, along with his audience, to who really is conservative and who is just interested in the money.
Steven Crowder chose to bet on himself and gamble as a free agent rather than accept whatever deal The Blaze offered him. Relative to his former home, the prospective platforms might offer more money, but it comes with heftier strings and less autonomy. More importantly, Crowder has done an excellent job using his platform to awaken people to the evil business of Conservative Inc. while implicating Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire as the suspected authors of this contract, as can be found in the comment section.
For Crowder, finding a platform is unlikely, especially if these are industry standards. It was unmentioned the implications of those who work for Crowder and whether they would be laid off from him because of his prospective employment. His show is high budget, more so than Shapiro, Knowles, or Walsh talking in front of a camera. A media company might find his workplace inefficient and costly. Whether a co-host like Dave Landau would be contracted as a DW employee is left unsaid. This is without discussing his other employees behind the scenes.
His complaints about the content requirements of 192 shows and other specials is somewhat ridiculous, as that is complaining about a greater workload for more money. Nevertheless, his predisposition is to go his own way and craft his own ecosystem. That was what he did at The Blaze, as he seldom interacted with the other hosts while he grew his own brand. It is unlikely he will sign any deals or collaborate on his own. He hints at helping build “a bench” of conservative commentators and paying legal fees but historically, his behavior has been little more than the gatekeepers like Daily Wire, as he does little to introduce/collaborate with other content creators, particularly those to his right.
Instead, he should resign with The Blaze or go his own way through a Locals/Rumble route, much like Elijah Schaffer and Nick Rekieta, but this would make him reliant upon generating revenues through superchats, memberships, merchandise, and more advertisements.
To finish on an optimistic note, being spurned by the industry could instigate a resurgence in the potency of Steven Crowder.