Earlier this month, hundreds of scientists and medical professionals asked Spotify to address COVID misinformation on its platform, sparked by comments made on The Joe Rogan Experience.
More than 270 members of the science and medical community signed the open letter, which called Rogan’s actions “not only objectionable and offensive but also medically and culturally dangerous”.
The situation then made headline news last week, with Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Crazy Horse member Nils Lofgren have pulling their music from the platform after Young sparked a protest against the misinformation being spread about the virus on Rogan’s Spotify original podcast.
In a new video clip posted to Instagram, Rogan addresses “some of the controversy that’s been going on over the past few days.”
He told fans: “I don’t always get it right. I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.
Admitting that it is a “strange responsibility to have this many views and listeners,” he promised “to do my best in the future to balance things out.”
Of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell’s departure from Spotify, Rogan added: “I’m very sorry that they feel that way. I most certainly don’t want that. I’m a Neil Young fan, I’ve always have been a Neil Young fan.”
Addressing Spotify directly, Rogan concluded: “I’m not trying to be controversial. I’m going to do my best in the future to balance things out…If I pissed you off, I’m sorry.”
Watch the full 10-minute video below.
Yesterday (January 30), it was reported that Spotify had lost more than $2billion (£1.5b) in market value after Young removed his music from the site. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young had explained at the time. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Other public figures have also weighed in on the debate, with Catherine Mayer – the widow of Gang Of Four‘s Andy Gill – criticising Spotify for platforming anti-vax sentiments. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, meanwhile, said in a new statement that they had expressed concerns about misinformation to Spotify last year. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a multi-year partnership with Spotify through their company, Archewell Audio.
Spotify has also confirmed that it will be adding COVID content advisories to all relevant podcast episodes.
The service’s CEO Daniel Ek has responded to the Young-led boycott in an official statement that sets out the company’s plan to tackle the spread of misinformation on its site. The main proponent of that plan involves adding content advisories to every podcast episode that discusses coronavirus.
“This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources,” the statement said.