Spotify is at the center of a growing controversy over COVID-19 misinformation on its platform: Two music legends, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, with at least another famous musician, indicating they are pulling their music. More than 200 medical professionals signed a open letter accused Spotify of “facilitating its archived media to damage the public’s trust in scientific research.” And even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, those with a content agreement with Spotify, have expressed “Concerns.” Faced with growing scrutiny, both Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and podcaster Joe Rogan issued statements over the weekend aimed at mitigating public backlash before more joined the boycott of the platform.
Rogan — who recently hosted Robert Malone, a controversial medical doctor and infectious disease researcher who promoted “mass formation psychosisThe conspiracy theory, on his podcast – apologized to Spotify and thanked the company for supporting him. “I’m so sorry this is happening to them and they’re getting so much heat from it,” said Rogan. speak on Sunday in a 10-minute video statement posted on Instagram. Spotify gets exclusive rights to Joe Rogan’s Experience in 2020, when it happens report The $100 million deal with Rogan. Financially, that contract paid off for Spotify, as Rogan’s show and his millions of listeners played. an important role in helping the tech company’s plan to grow its user base through podcasting. But Spotify’s association with Rogan also causes headaches for the company, especially because of his pandemic-related content, such as when Rogan authentication the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 and advise “Healthy” young people do not have to be vaccinated. (Rogan did clarify that he is “not an anti-enemy” after the White House denied the second claim.)
Rogan has largely remained unmoved throughout his past controversies. (In August, Ek went public donate about the podcaster’s creative independence, stated that Spotify would not censor Rogan’s show content.) But Rogan’s tune seems to have changed due to Young and Mitchell’s boycott of Spotify — protests ensued. Rogan’s recent episode with Malone, which guest-starred “Some Misinformation About COVID-19 Vaccines,” according to an open letter from medical experts. (Malone was forever ban from Twitter and quickly found his podcast episode featuring Rogan unofficially uploaded remove by YouTube.)
“If there’s anything I’ve done that I could do better with, it’s better to have more experts with different opinions, as soon as I have controversial opinions,” Rogan said. Sunday. “I would certainly be willing to do that. I’d like to talk to some people who have different views on those podcasts going forward. We’ll see.” He went on to say that while booking his guests, he doesn’t always “do it right.” Rogan also notes that his intention with the show has always been to “make it happen.” making interesting conversations and conversations that I hope people will enjoy”, adding, “I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to cause controversy. I’ve never tried to be controversial. trying to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people.”
But as technology observers have shown, Spotify is not only a platform that handles content moderation but also has a premium contract with Rogan. “Spotify is relying directly on comparing Facebook and YouTube; it allows them to run ‘content moderation is an impossible challenge’ playbook instead of ‘we bought and distributed this media asset’ playbook,” like The Vergeeditor-in-chief of Nilay Patel Note on Twitter.
In his own statement, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek did not mention Rogan by name but alluded to the backlash the podcast has caused.