Spotify Responds After Prominent Artists Threaten to Leave Platform Over Covid-19 Misinformation

CNN, via Flickr

It all started with a threat. Neil Young told Spotify to take popular podcast host Joe Rogan off the air or he would pull his music from the platform. The result? Rogan’s fans are still able to listen to him, but Young’s fans will have to turn elsewhere to listen to his music.

It’s not over.

Other artists are standing with Young, deciding to pull their music from Spotify as well. Joni Mitchell was the first to follow his lead. Nils Lofgren, a former member of Bruce Springeteen’s E Street Band and Crazy Horse, is also pulling his music. Lofgren wants more “musicians, artists and music lovers” to boycott Spotify.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s foundation, Archwell, is calling out Spotify as well. A spokesperson for the foundation said, “We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”

The controversy is over Rogan’s podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.” It’s the most popular podcast on Spotify in the United States and the UK. Many say Rogan is responsible for spreading misinformation, but his fans are loyal and likely to follow him even if he were to leave Spotify…which isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek isn’t ignoring the controversy, but he doesn’t want to censor Spotify either. In a statement, Ek explained, “It is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being a content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them.”

While Spotify will not be removing Rogan’s show, they will be making some changes. They are going to publicly post their Platform Rules. Ek explained, “These are rules of the road to guide all of our creators — from those we work with exclusively to those whose work is shared across multiple platforms.”

Spotify will also be adding a content advisory for any podcast where Covid-19 is discussed. The advisory will funnel listeners to a hub where they can view information about Covid-19 from trusted sources.

The controversy is far from over. Watch the video below to learn more about why many people want Rogan off Spotify and why that may not happen.