Why streaming giant Spotify is facing the music over Joe Rogan, COVID-19 and Neil Young – Technology News, Firstpost
FP StaffJanuary 31, 2022 15:54:18 IST
Music streaming giant Spotify is in trouble.
The company has lost somewhere between $2 and $4 billion in value, artists have demanded that their music be taken off the platform, and users are uninstalling the app. The hashtag CancelSpotify has also gone viral.
Let’s see why the Swedish streaming giant is facing the music:
Spotify gets the full Joe Rogan Experience
In May 2020, Spotify signed a $100 million deal with arguably the greatest podcaster in the world: Joe Rogan.
Now critics say Spotify is getting exactly what it paid for: The Joe Rogan Experience.
Rogan, who has become a lightning rod for giving platforms to far-right personalities, climate deniers and conspiracy theorists, recently interviewed Dr. Robert Malone.
Malone, a virologist and immunologist, has become a hero in the anti-vaccination community and has been banned from Twitter for sharing misinformation.
Malone has questioned the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, falsely suggesting that millions of people have been “hypnotized into believing” that the vaccines work to prevent serious illness.
Rogan, who isn’t particularly known for challenging his guests about their opinions, later posted a video to Instagram saying he only wanted conversations on his podcast with people who have “different opinions.”
“If I made you mad, I’m sorry,” Rogan said. “I’ll do my best to try and balance these more controversial points of view with other people’s perspectives so that maybe we can find a better point of view.”
“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial,” Rogan said. “I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people.”
He also said he schedules guests on his podcast himself and that he would try to book doctors of differing opinions right after speaking with “the controversial one.” Rogan noted that he had previously sat down on the show with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for CNN, Dr. Michael Osterholm, who serves on President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, and Dr. Peter Hotez. from Baylor College of Medicine.
Artists express their concern
After Rogan’s podcast, veteran rocker Neil Young demanded that they remove his music from Spotify to protest that Rogan was spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The American rocker had written a letter to the streaming platform asking that his music be removed because Spotify “spreads false information about vaccines — potentially deadly to those who believe the misinformation”.
Young had reportedly said that Spotify “can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
In response to his request, Spotify said in a statement on Wednesday that it regrets Young’s decision, “but hopes to welcome him back soon.”
However, Young wasn’t the only one to ask for his music to be taken off the stage.
Joni Mitchell tried to remove all of her music from Spotify on Friday in solidarity with Neil Young.
Mitchell, who like Young is a songwriter from California, said, “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand by Neil Young and the worldwide scientific and medical communities on this subject.”
It’s important to note that Young and Mitchell both survived polio — they got it in the early 1950s before a vaccine became available.
Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan also got involved in the controversy, raising concerns to Spotify about misinformation about COVID-19 on its platform.
A spokesperson for their Archewell Foundation told Reuters: “Hundreds of millions of people are affected every day by the grave damage of rampant misinformation and misinformation. Last April, our co-founders began voicing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real-world consequences of misinformation about COVID-19 on its platform.
“We have continued to voice our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes are made to its platform to address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to make it to this point and are determined to continue our work together as it does. “
Spotify takes action
Responding to the negative press and the billions of lost ratings, the music streaming service said on Sunday it will add content advisories before podcasts talk about the virus.
In a post on Sunday, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek laid out more transparent platform rules.
“Personally, there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I strongly disagree with,” wrote Ek. “It’s important to me that we don’t take the position of content censorship and at the same time make sure there are rules and consequences for those who break them.”
Ek said the advisories will be linked to Spotify’s fact-based COVID-19 hub in what he described as a “new effort to fight misinformation”.
It will be rolled out in the coming days, Ek added.
He did not specifically refer to Rogan or Young.
With input from agencies