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Spotify is Standing By Joe Rogan

During a 15-minute speech, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek defended his stance in choosing to keep The Joe Rogan Experience over Neil Young’s music.

Spotify isn’t cracking under pressure when it comes to Joe Rogan. During a 15-minute speech on Wednesday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek spoke to his company about escalations over Rogan’s podcast, which has caused a domino effect of artists deciding their shows and music from the platform. According to artists such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and India Arie, Rogan’s COVID misinformation has deterred them from continuing a relationship with Spotify.

Spotify leaders that joined Ek at their new “Pod City” headquarters in Los Angeles were Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s head of global communications and public relations; Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer; Gustav Söderström, chief R&D officer; and Paul Vogel, CFO., according to Verge. All seemed to have backed Ek’s viewpoint.

Spotify employees claimed that the company’s Black History Month had taken a backseat to Rogan’s controversial views. Instead of providing clarity on the importance of company initiatives, Ek was said to have largely focused on why Rogan – and him hosting the number-one podcast in America–was an integral part of Spotify.

Explaining Spotify’s reasoning behind the move, Ek pushed that Spotify is a platform for Rogan but a publisher for podcast studio Gimlet Media. Ek also explained that he doesn’t consider Spotify to be a publisher, not having editorial responsibility on what Rogan or his guests say on JRE.

“I understand the premise that because we have an exclusive deal with him, it’s really easy to conclude we endorse every word he says and believe the opinions expressed by his guests. That’s absolutely not the case,“ Ek said about Rogan, adding that Spotify doesn’t “fit neatly into just one category.” “We’re defining an entirely new space of tech and media. We’re a very different kind of company, and the rules of the road are being written as we innovate.”

Noting that he has occasionally taken offense to things Rogan has said on JRE, Ek mentioned that if policy violations are noticed on the podcast, they’re addressed after episodes release.

“A publisher has editorial control over a creator’s content — they can take action on the content before it’s even published,” Ek said. “Even though JRE is an exclusive, it is licensed content. It is important to note that we do not have creative control over Joe Rogan’s content. We don’t approve his guests in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions.”

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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