Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, recently addressed his employees about the Joe Rogan controversy, wherein multiple celebrities and Left-wing politicians have called for the podcast host’s deplatforming. Ex explained to his employees that the company originally agreed that when they brought Rogan to the platform with exclusive publishing rights, they also agreed to relinquish any “editorial control” over the podcast’s content. The Joe Rogan Experience, which became exclusive on the platform a couple of years ago, brings in around 11 million listeners per episode.
Ek’s remarks are a blow to multiple music artists, such as India Arie, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell, who asked Spotify to either cancel Rogan or pull their discography from the platform over controversial interviews with scientists who contradict the COVID-19 narrative.
According to an audio recording of the company meeting, Ek explained that while he has some personal disagreements with Joe Rogan and finds some of his podcast episodes offensive, he has no plans on discontinuing Rogan’s exclusive presence on the platform.
Ek also explained in the meeting that having Rogan on the platform was “not equal [to] endorsement” and that if Spotify had any hopes of achieving its bold ambitions that it would have to allow people on the site which they “disagree with strongly.”
Ek told his employees that publishers often have “editorial control over a creator’s content – they can take action on the content before it’s even published,” but that JRE is “exclusive… licensed content… we do not have creative control over Joe Rogan’s content.” Ek added that the company also has no control over who Rogan chooses to have as a guest.
An LA Times report noted that Ek also defended free speech on the platform during an earnings call, where he said that Spotify doesn’t “change… policies based on one creator, nor… based on any media cycle or calls from anyone else.”
Ek’s remarks are also a blow to the White House. Recently, Press Secretary Jen Psaki demanded that tech companies “do more” to censor “misinformation” about COVID-19. Her comments came in response to a question about Rogan’s podcast.
Psaki added that the Biden Administration “hope[s]… all major tech platforms and all major news sources for that matter be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19. That certainly includes Spotify. ”
Psaki on @joerogan and "misinformation" on Spotify:
"Our hope is that all major tech platforms and all major news sources for that matter be responsible and be vigilant…we want every platform to continue doing more…" pic.twitter.com/W3JtHZcicx
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 1, 2022
Author: Meredith Warner