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Spotify CEO says Joe Rogan doesn’t get special treatment even though he has a massive audience

Joe Rogan, host of the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

Vivian Zink/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

  • Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, addressed the Joe Rogan controversy on the company’s earnings call.
  • He said the company doesn’t change its policies based on media cycles.
  • Ek added that Rogan is subject to the same policies as every creator. 

The CEO of Spotify addressed the recent backlash against podcasting star Joe Rogan in the company’s Q4 earnings call.

Rogan and Spotify were widely criticized after Rogan invited a guest on his podcast who broadcast misinformation about COVID-19 measures including face masks and vaccines. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music off the streaming platform in protest.

“We’re trying to balance creative expression with the safety of our users,” said Spotify CEO, Daniel Ek.

“I think the important part here is that we don’t change our policies based on one creator, nor do we change it based on any media cycle,” Ek said.

“While Joe has a massive audience – he’s actually the number one podcast in more than 90 markets — he also has to abide by those policies,” he added.

Spotify bought Joe Rogan’s podcast in May 2020 for a reported sum over $100 million.

During the earnings call, Ek highlighted Spotify’s recent announcement that it would add content advisory notes next to episodes discussing COVID-19.

“I’m really proud of the steps we took following the concerns raised by the medical and scientific communities,” Ek added.

This measure has not satisfied all Spotify’s critics. The makers of a popular Spotify science podcast said Monday they would halt production until Spotify strengthened its policies around misinformation.

This isn’t the first time Ek has had to defend Spotify’s policies in relation to Joe Rogan. Vice reported in September 2020 Ek had to field questions from Spotify employees who raised concerns about transphobic content on Rogan’s show.

Rogan also sparked a backlash in October 2020 after right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — whose own podcast was banned by Spotify — appeared as a guest on his podcast.

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