Spotify CEO Addresses the Ongoing Joe Rogan, Neil Young Controversy

by Anna Dunn

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed the ongoing misinformation controversy on the platform. The controversy gained steam after Neil Young announced he was taking his music off the platform. He cited Spotify’s because partnership with Joe Rogan, who spread what scientific experts referred to as COVID-19 misinformation.

The controversy has caused multiple musicians, including Joni Mitchell, to also pull their music from the platform. The company’s market cap dipped by over 2 billion, and subscribers are also opting to leave the platform. Spotify did say they’ll add a content advisory before any podcast about COVID-19. But that doesn’t seem to have done much to quell the controversy.

Even The White House has spoken out about the controversy. Therefore, it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. If anything, it appears to be heating up. Crosby Stills and Nash decided they’ll leave the platform as well today.

According to Deadline, Ek addressed the controversy in his opening statement on an earnings call with wall street analysts.

“Obviously, it’s been a few notable days here at Spotify. When we entered the podcast space in 2019… we assumed it would challenge and test our teams in new ways, and there’s no doubt that the last several weeks have presented a number of learning opportunities,” he said.

On top of adding a controversy, Ek has admitted that Spotify should have made its information policies more clear and hopes that doing so will help the company move past this. The guidelines, which will be made public, Rogan will be required to abide by.

Spotify CEO Says the Company Has a ‘Critical Role’ When it Comes to User Safety

Ek also noted that Spotify has “a critical role to play in balancing creative expression with the safety of our users.” He also recognizes that “there is still work to be done.”

Right now Wall Street isn’t impressed with Spotify’s last quarter, or its forecast. So the company is also dealing with investors pulling out of the company. Shares tanked by 17% after hours then settled by around 10% down.

Rogan has addressed the controversy and said he is not mad at Young, Mitchell, and other artists for protesting the streaming service. He’s also said he’ll have different guests on the program.

“I would like to talk to some people who have differing opinions on the podcasts in the future. I do all the scheduling myself and I don’t always get it right,” he said.

The controversy isn’t just because Rogan’s podcast is available on Spotify. It’s that Spotify and Rogan have allegedly reached a $100 million licensing deal, which makes Spotify more liable for the claims made on the show.

Of course, it’s hard to tell how this will affect Spotify in the long term.