Joe Rogan and Spotify: Who is the American podcast and what is COVID misinformation about? | Ents and art news

“They could have Rogan or Young. Not both.” It was reported that this was the ultimatum to Spotify by Neil Young regarding the deal of the streaming platform with the American podcast Joe Rogan.

Grammy winner, multimillion rock legend or host of one of the most popular podcasts in the world?

The controversy, which dominates the titles of the music industry, is entirely related to allegations about COVID misinformation and Spotify eventually chose Rogan. However, Rogan has already promised to be more “balanced” and Spotify is introducing “content” for each episode of a podcast that discusses the coronavirus.

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Joe Rogan talks about the boycott of Spotify

Amid controversy, more than $ 2 billion (about £ 1.5 billion) was wiped out of Spotify’s market value last week.

Here, Sky News looks at how it started, the artists taking a stand and what Spotify and Rogan said about it.

Who is Joe Rogan?

With a podcast listened to by millions around the world, there are already many Joe Rogan fans. But for those who don’t know who he is, the 54-year-old Rogan is a stand-up comedian, MMA enthusiast and commentator and former reality TV presenter who launched the 2009 podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.

Announced as a long-running talk show, it has gained huge followers over the years and has included everyone from Bernie Sanders and Elon Musk. who shamefully smoked cannabis during the interview – to Miley Cyrus and Kanye West.

Spotify acquired The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020, with reports of more than $ 100 million (£ 77 million), the highest-rated podcast on the platform.

Rogan has previously sparked controversy over his views on COVID-19, urging young and healthy people not to get vaccinated. He also said he used ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug used mainly in horses that has no proven benefit against COVIDafter infection with the virus.

How did the scandal start?

Earlier in January, about 270 scientists and medical professionals signed an open letter to Spotify urging bosses to take action against Rogan, accusing him of spreading lies on the podcast.

Then, Neil YoungThe 76-year-old threatened to download his music from the streaming service.

FILE - Neil Young poses for a portrait in Santa Monica, California, on September 9, 2019. Spotify says it will grant the veteran rocker's request to remove his music from its streaming platform. Young protested against what he called the company's decision to allow dissemination of disinformation about COVID-19 in its services. (Photo by Rebecca Cabage / Invision / AP, file)
Neil Young says he is ready to take the brunt of his streaming income

Young, who contracted polio as a child shortly before the vaccine became available, fans said, published a letter on his website to his manager and his record label, Warner Music Group, urging Spotify to stop wearing his music. It has since been deleted.

“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both, “Young wrote in the letter, according to US media reports.

The next day, Young re-posted on his website, saying that while Spotify accounted for 60 percent of its worldwide streaming revenue, it had become a “damaging force” and it was “taking the hit … in the name of truth.”

Young is best known for hits including Heart Of Gold, Rocking In The Free World and Cinnamon Girl. His music has already been removed from the platform, with Spotify saying it “regrets” the musician’s decision.

The streaming giant said it had tried to strike a balance by removing more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.

Which other artists are involved?

A few days after Young’s decision, Johnny Mitchell announced that he was “in solidarity” with the star by removing his music from Spotify.

Singer and songwriter of the 2021 Kennedy Center, Johnny Mitchell posed on the red carpet at the medallion ceremony for the 44th anniversary of the Kennedy Center on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at the Library of Congress in Washington. (AP Photo / Kevin Wolf)
Johnny Mitchell says she is “in solidarity” with Young

Mitchell said the streaming giant allowed “irresponsible people” to spread lies that “cost people’s lives”.

“I have decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” Mitchell said in a statement on his official website. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that cost people’s lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the world scientific and medical community on this issue.”

Mitchell, 78, is another Grammy winner best known for songs including Big Yellow Taxi and Chelsea Morning.

There has been speculation on social media that Barry Manilow will follow suit. However, the singer posted a statement on Twitter, saying he did not know where the messages came from.

What does this have to do with Harry and Megan?

In 2020, Prince Harry and Megan signed a lucrative multi-year partnership with Spotify for an undisclosed amount – valued at around $ 25 million (about £ 18 million), in late 2020.

The deal was to host and produce podcasts under their Archewell Audio brand. However, apart from “holiday special”, released on December 29, 2020, they have not released any other material.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex discussed the move during a visit to New Zealand in 2018, more than a year before retiring from their royal duties.
Harry and Megan signed a deal with Spotify in 2020

Commenting on the dispute with Rogan, the couple said they had expressed concerns about the spread of misinformation on the platform last April. However, they said they would continue to work with the company.

In a statement sent to Sky News, a spokesman for Archewell said: “Since the founding of Archewell, we have been working to address the global disinformation crisis in real time. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the severe damage of unbridled misinformation every day.

“Last April, our co-founders began to express concern to our Spotify partners about the very real consequences of the disinformation about COVID-19 on its platform. We continued to express our concern for Spotify to ensure that changes were made to its platform to help address this public health crisis.

“We look forward to meeting this moment and Spotify is committed to continuing to work together as it does.”

What did Spotify say?

On January 30, the platform’s bosses announced that they would now add “content advice” to every podcast episode that discusses the coronavirus.

Streaming CEO Daniel Eck also said that “long-standing rules for the platform” would be published to be more transparent about “policies that guide our content more broadly.”

Daniel Eck says COVID podcasts will now come with 'content advice'
Spotify boss Daniel Eck says COVID podcasts will now come with “content advice”

In a post on the Spotify website announcing the steps taken, Mr Eck said: “Personally, there are many points of view for Spotify that I strongly disagree with … it is important for me not to take the position of censoring content while assures that there are rules and consequences for those who break them. “

He then went on to outline how each podcast episode for COVID will now be accompanied by a content tip.

This council will direct listeners to our special center for COVID-19, a resource that provides easy access to data-based facts, up-to-date information shared by scientists, doctors, academics and public health authorities around the world, and as links to trusted sources, “he said.

Mr Eck said the company would also start publishing rules on its platform, which tell employees not to promote dangerous, fraudulent, sensitive or illegal content on their platform, and the guidelines added that “breaking the rules could lead to until the infringing content is removed ‘.

Mr Eck also said the company would “start testing ways to emphasize the rules of our platform in our creator and publisher tools to raise awareness of what’s acceptable and help creators understand their responsibility for content.” which they publish on our platform ”.

Shares of Spotify rose 2% in pre-market trading on Monday, but are still the lowest since May 2020, after the controversy
and the wider sell-off of technology stocks in January eroded more than a quarter of the platform’s value.

Rogan’s promise

Following Mr Eck’s post, Rogan posted a 10-minute video on social media to address the controversy, saying he would try to “balance” the views expressed on his show and support Spotify’s advisory plans for content.

Joe Rogan hosts the UFC 264 weigh-in at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
Rogan says he wants to “show all sorts of opinions” on his show

Responding to allegations of spreading dangerous misinformation about the virus, the podcaster said he was “interested in talking to people who have different opinions” and was not focused on “talking only to people who have one point of view.”

He apologized if he had offended anyone and added that he was “not trying to promote misinformation”. However, he said he would “try more to attract people with different opinions” immediately after those with conflicting opinions emerge.

“So I promise that I will do my best to try to balance these more contradictory points of view with other people’s points of view so that we can find a better point of view,” he said.

“I don’t just want to show the opposite opinion of the story. I want to show all kinds of opinions so that we can all understand what is happening and not only about COVID, but about everything about health, fitness, wellness, the state of the world itself. “

Analysis: Positive step – but more work to be done

Victoria Elms

Victoria Elms

Digital Investigation Journalist


The Spotify announcement marks a positive step towards tackling misinformation on the platform.

But while it tells us more about the kind of content that Spotify says it doesn’t allow, it doesn’t reveal what the company is doing to enforce these rules behind the scenes.

An investigation by Sky News last year found more than 150 hours of hateful content on the platform, which the company removed after we told them.

But how much Spotify does to search for and remove infringing content other than respond to user reports is unknown.

Sky News Spotify investigation

Leaving aside COVID-19, an investigation by Sky News in December 2021 found anti-Semitic, racist and white material to dominate Podcast podcasts.

We found podcasts with a total value of several days of listening, promoting extreme views such as scientific racism, Holocaust denial, and far-right anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

While some of the most shocking material was buried in long episodes, in some cases overt insults could be found in the titles and descriptions of the episodes, while the album cover featured images taken by white supremacists.

Spotify removed the content after we reported it to the streaming giant and said it did not allow hate content on its platform.

You can read our full report here.

Joe Rogan and Spotify: Who is the American podcast and what is COVID misinformation about? | Ents and art news

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