Spotify defends handling of Joe Rogan controversy amid uproar

While Spotify released an earnings report on Wednesday highlighting the importance of podcasts to its business model, company officials ...


While Spotify released an earnings report on Wednesday highlighting the importance of podcasts to its business model, company officials said they did not expect their subscriber numbers to be affected by the outcry over accusations that its most popular podcaster, Joe Rogan, had spread false information about Covid-19 and vaccines.

The company has been embroiled in controversy for Neil Young pulled his music from the streaming platform last weekquoting Rogan’s podcast and calling Spotify “the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation”. Joni Mitchell and several other artists and podcasters have followed suit amid widespread calls on social media to boycott the company. Officials responded with publish service platform rules and saying Spotify would start adding content advisories to coronavirus podcasts.

But in an earnings call on Wednesday afternoon, Daniel Ek, chief executive and co-founder of Spotify, said the company’s expectations for premium users in the current quarter did not anticipate “churn.” caused by the controversy over “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

“Generally what I would say is it’s too early to know what the impact might be,” Ek said on the call. “And usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months, not days. But I feel good about where we are in relation to that and obviously the high-end trends still look very healthy.

Ek defended the measures taken by the streaming service to combat misinformation and spoke of “supporting greater expression while balancing it with the safety of our users.”

“I think the important part here is that we don’t change our policies based on a creator, or based on a media cycle or calls from someone else,” he said. . “Our policies have been carefully written with input from a number of internal and external experts in this area. And I believe they suit our platform. And while Joe has a massive following – he is in is the number one podcast in over 90 markets – it must also follow these policies.

Spotify has been under pressure over Rogan’s podcast since late December, when a coalition of 270 medical professionals published an open letter criticizing an episode featuring an interview with Dr Robert Malone, who had previously been banned from Twitter for repeatedly posting misinformation about Covid-19. The letter said Rogan had a history of making “false and socially harmful claims” about the virus, including discouraging young people from being vaccinated and promoting an unproven treatment for the virus, and called on Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation”. .”

The situation came to a boiling point when Young announced he would be scrapping his catalog, resulting in several artists following, including Mitchell and guitarist Nils Lofgren. R&B artist India Arie said on Tuesday that she would also remove her music from the service, citing Rogan’s race comments. And on Wednesday, several of Young’s former bandmates David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills asked their record companies to remove their recordings from Spotify.

The pushback also came from several other high-profile podcast hosts at the company. The Saturday, Brene Brown, the influential author and host of Spotify-exclusive podcasts “Unlocking Us” and “Dare to Lead,” said she will be pausing the release of new episodes. On Monday, another popular Spotify podcast, “Science Vs.”, said so would stop releasing new episodes other than those intended to “counter misinformation being spread on Spotify.”“For the past few days, the podcast has been hosting Mary L. Trump, Roxane Gay and Scott Galloway also said they would remove their shows from the platform or stop posting.

The company delivered strong overall performance in the fourth quarter of 2021, including year-over-year growth in paid subscribers – up 16% to a total of 180 million – and monthly active users – up 18% for a total of 406 million. He also said ad revenue hit a record 15% of total revenue. Podcasts – Spotify says there are now more than 3.6 million episodes on its platform – have been an important part of its revenue strategy.

Whether this trajectory will continue is uncertain. Shares of the company fell in after-hours trading.

“Obviously it’s been a standout few days here at Spotify,” Ek said on the call. He added that “there is no doubt that the past few weeks have presented a number of learning opportunities”.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Spotify defends handling of Joe Rogan controversy amid uproar
Spotify defends handling of Joe Rogan controversy amid uproar
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