Spotify CEO announces he will not be removing Joe Rogan podcast from the streaming service

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Spotify is not only a place for users to listen to all of their favorite music, but also home to a variety of podcasts. However, when almost anyone is able to submit their podcasts to the app, it was bound to be only a matter of time before controversy sparked.

The Joe Rogan Experience is a comedic long form conversation podcast where Rogan is joined by a wide variety of guests. However, Rogan has said many things in his podcasts that have left people feeling uncomfortable or even angry. He has made many comments about Covid-19 that people are claiming to be misinformation. According to Rogan, young people have no need for the vaccine, and he sees no need to get the vaccine himself since he has antibodies. He has also claimed that lockdowns will only make the situation worse, allowing the virus to spread amongst the household. Of course, everyone is entitled to make their choice about whether or not to get the vaccine, but some have claimed that this misinformation has no place on Spotify.

Of these critics, Neil Young was perhaps one of the first to take a stand. This Canadian-American singer had previously had all of his music streamable on Spotify, until he made it known that Spotify would have to make a choice. In a letter posted to Young’s website, he claimed, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” Young believes that Rogan’s misinformation and dismissiveness of the vaccine could lead to potential deaths. While the letter was later removed from the website, it had already inspired others to speak up. Many health professionals began urging Spotify to do something, whether it be flagging the podcasts as misinformation or simply removing them altogether.

Ultimately, Spotify did not meet Young’s demands, and his music was removed from the platform. This does not mean the fight is over, though, with many other musicians or podcasters having decided to follow Young’s footsteps by removing their content from the platform themselves. Of those are Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Brene’ Brown, and others. Not only that, but even many listeners have made the choice to switch to another streaming service, not wanting to support Spotify.

The CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek, did eventually speak out on this incident. While he acknowledged Spotify has an obligation to provide access to more medically accurate information during this time, it has also been made clear that he will not be removing Rogan’s podcast. They will, however, be adding an advisory to any podcasts discussing Covid-19. Rogan gave his opinion on the matter as well, stating he never meant to spread misinformation or be controversial. “I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people,” said Rogan.

Many may be wondering what happens now. While it is still unclear just how much Spotify will suffer from the lost artists and users, they have already lost between two to four billion dollars after Young left the platform. Spotify is the most popular among the main streaming services though, so it is unlikely their market will fall much more.