What is the Joe Rogan, Spotify ruckus all about?
The saga of Joe Rogan and Spotify is far from being over. Ever since Rogan's uber-popular podcast on the platform was accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, both the company and the stand-up comic have faced backlash. Now, Rogan has apologized and the platform brought in new rules under which programs about the pandemic will carry a "COVID-19 advisory." Here's what went down.
- The problem started with Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience (TJRE).
- In some episodes, several alleged false and scientifically inaccurate claims about the COVID-19 pandemic were made.
- The dissemination of misinformation was condemned by a group of over 250 scientists, doctors, nurses, educators who wrote an open letter to Spotify.
- Musician Neil Young also asked Spotify to remove his music, which the latter did.
While both Rogan and Spotify were facing flak for a while now, the fire was re-energized by Young's public lashing out. The podcaster posted a nearly 10-minute-long video online on Sunday. There, he addressed the two episodes that sparked the debate. He said he invited "highly credentialed, very intelligent" Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone as they had different viewpoints than "mainstream narrative."
Rogan also addressed accusations of spreading "dangerous misinformation." "The problem I have with the term dangerous misinformation is...many of the things we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact." Further, in the video, Rogan apologized saying, "If I pissed you off, I'm sorry." Thanking Spotify for the support, he even apologized for the criticism it was facing.
JUST IN: Joe Rogan addresses Spotify controversy pic.twitter.com/3BX9kyQkzX— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) January 31, 2022
Rogan has now promised "to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people's perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view." He suggested the audio streamer should issue disclaimers/warnings which say that no medical decision should be taken based on what's spoken on podcast episodes. Spotify has announced that it will be adding an advisory for any COVID-19 podcasts.
Notably, both the apology and policy change came after some heavy damage to the platform. The Swedish company's market capitalization fell by about $2.1 billion in just three days after Young pulled his music. Moreover, phrases like "Goodbye Spotify" have been trending on Twitter relentlessly.
One thing is clear from this episode: Spotify can lose billions, part ways with a renowned artist (Young), but can't lose Rogan's podcast. In 2020, the firm had exclusively licensed TJRE in a $100M deal and this move has been beneficial with TJRE bringing in 4.5% of all the podcast listeners to the service last year. Thus, content moderation is the only option left.