Spotify Is Becoming Unwrapped by Joe Rogan
Ashley Carman, reporting for The Verge:
On the company’s February 3rd earnings call, Ek was clear that the rules were the rules and Spotify would not “change our policies based on one creator nor do we change it based on any media cycle or calls from anyone else.”
Then the next Joe Rogan media cycle arrived.
Musician India Arie pulled her music from the platform last week over Rogan’s repeated use of the n-word and shared a viral video montage of Rogan using the racial slur on his podcast — a montage that had originally been made in January of 2020. In stark contrast to how it handled Young and Joni Mitchell protesting COVID misinformation, Spotify quickly stepped in.
So: after a PR crisis, Spotify reached out to Rogan and got him to agree to remove episodes of his show from the platform. Ek’s memo also says the company will now dedicate $100 million to licensing and marketing content made by creators from historically marginalized communities — a move the company has not actually announced officially but clearly wants credit for.
Spotify’s response is indicative of what we know them to be in: a crisis mode. The Verge’s reporting has been quite damning, showing them wanting to have their cake and eat it too.