Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has defended the streaming platform, saying “it’s too early to know” the impact of the recent Joe Rogan row on the company’s future.
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, with Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Crazy Horse member Nils Lofgren and more pulling their music from the service after Young sparked a protest against the misinformation being spread about the virus on Rogan’s Spotify original podcast.
Other public figures 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 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.
Since the row erupted, Spotify’s shares fell by more than 10 per cent in after-hours trading and on January 30, it was reported that Spotify had lost more than $2billion (£1.5bn) in market value.
Ek told investors: “Usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months, not days.”
“We don’t change our policies based on one creator, nor do we change based on any media cycle or calls from anyone else,” he added.
Spotify has since confirmed that it will be adding COVID content advisories to all relevant podcast episodes.
Ek said listeners would be directed to a resource hub with links to facts, information from experts and “links to trusted sources”.
He added: “This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days.
“To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.”
In a video clip posted to Instagram, Rogan addressed “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.”