Spotify CEO Says Canceling Joe Rogan Isn’t ‘The Answer’ – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(AP) — Joe Rogan has put Spotify in a tough spot, but the streaming giant isn’t ready to part ways with the popular podcast host despite intense criticism over his comments about the coronavirus vaccine and the use of racial slurs.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also said in a message to employees on Sunday that Rogan’s racist language was “incredibly hurtful” and that the host was behind the removal of dozens of episodes of “The Joe. Rogan Experience”.
“While I strongly condemn what Joe said and agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more,” Ek said in the note. “And I want to clarify something – I don’t believe silencing Joe is the answer.”
The letter is the clearest indication yet of Spotify’s stance on Rogan’s fate with the company, as some musicians, including Neil Young and India.Arie, pulled their work from the streaming service in protest. and others may follow. Spotify reportedly paid $100 million to exclusively host Rogan’s podcast, which now threatens earnings but is also a key part of the company’s strategy to be a one-stop-shop for audio.
“We should have clear lines around content and act when they’re crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it is critical thinking and open debate that fuels real and needed progress,” Ek wrote.
He said he was “deeply sorry” for the impact of the controversy on Spotify employees. Rogan apologized on Saturday for his use of the N-word in some past episodes.
Spotify’s move is unlikely to sit well with one side of an increasingly polarized country where there is heightened sensitivity to misinformation about race and vaccines, experts say.
“If Spotify says, ‘We can’t drop it. He has the right to say whatever he wants “it continues down the line where there is this implicit support for saying racist things on these platforms,” said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a sociology professor at the University of Washington. in Saint-Louis, before Ek’s letter. has been freed.
The streaming site must also decide whether offensive words are allowed elsewhere on its app, where songs containing racist, homophobic and anti-immigrant messages are available, said John Wihbey, a professor at Northeastern University and an expert in emerging technologies.
“There’s a real soul-searching to be done beyond Joe,” Wihbey said Sunday. “It’s a big computational moment for entertainment and streaming platforms to see where the window is, which is over the limit.”
In his letter, Ek announced a $100 million investment to license, develop and market “music and audio content from historically marginalized bands,” without giving further details.
Rogan’s public unrest began on January 24 when Young demanded that his music be taken down, fearing that Rogan was promoting skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines. Other artists have followed suit, including Joni Mitchell and Roxane Gay.
Spotify said it will soon add a disclaimer to all podcasts that discuss COVID-19, directing listeners to factual, up-to-date information from scientists and public health experts.
The scrutiny intensified when a video compilation emerged last week showing Rogan repeatedly using the N-word. Arie posted it to his Instagram account, using the hashtag #DeleteSpotify.
“They take this money that’s built from streaming, and they pay this guy $100 million, but they pay us like 0.003% of a dime,” the Grammy winner wrote. “I don’t want to generate money that pays for that.”
Rogan apologized in an Instagram video on Saturday, saying the slurs were “the most regrettable and shameful thing” he’s ever had to deal with and that he hasn’t used the N-word in years .
Ek told the Wall Street Journal last week that he took responsibility for being “too slow to respond” to criticism over vaccine misinformation. It took the company five days to publicly respond to Young.
“It has become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely accepted information from the medical and scientific communities that guides us through this unprecedented time,” Ek continued in a statement. .
Rogan is an odd mix of shock jock and host who leads discussions on public policy, arts and culture, Wihbey said, describing his brand as conservative “bro America.”
His comments were clearly racist, Wihbey said, but he hopes Rogan sees this as a chance to discuss race and vaccine issues in depth in future episodes. Otherwise, his audience might not hear the discussions, Wihbey said.
“I think bringing together that kind of audience is important,” he said. “He can say things that I think can move the needle.”
Wingfield said the controversy could be positive if it begins to shift to discussions of racial stereotypes.
“I think if Joe Rogan kind of learns from this experience and becomes a driving voice for this conversation, that could be really valuable,” she said. “But I want to stress again that it’s a pretty big if, and I don’t know if it will come to that.”
Spotify reports having 406 million monthly active users, up almost 20% from last year, and advertising has increased largely thanks to podcasts. Musicians still generate the bulk of Spotify’s profits, experts say. The company held 31% of the 524 million music streaming subscriptions worldwide in the second quarter of 2021, more than double the second place of Apple Music, according to Midia Research.
Spotify Technology’s stock price fell 0.5% Monday morning in after-hours trading. It jumped 9.2% on Friday.
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