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Business News/ News / World/  Joe Rogan controversy: Spotify exodus grows as Graham Nash signals withdrawal
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Joe Rogan controversy: Spotify exodus grows as Graham Nash signals withdrawal

The combined exodus further escalates a dispute over the streaming service’s support for Rogan and intensifies questions about Spotify’s responsibility for monitoring content distributed on its platform

A screen displaying the Joe Rogan podcast and a smartphone displaying the Spotify's logo (AFP)Premium
A screen displaying the Joe Rogan podcast and a smartphone displaying the Spotify's logo (AFP)

Singer-songwriters Graham Nash and India Arie on Tuesday announced plans to remove their music from Spotify Technology SA in protest of its support for controversial podcaster Joe Rogan. The moves come after Neil Young and folk-rocker Joni Mitchell both removed most of their music from the platform last week. 

Young, 76, accused Rogan of spreading vaccine misinformation on his show -- called “The Joe Rogan Experience" -- distributed by Spotify. In response, the platform publicized its internal content rules and Rogan pledged more balance and research. Nash said he agrees with his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate after “having heard the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify" and is requesting that his solo recordings be removed from the platform, according to a statement from the singer. Arie intends to leave Spotify because of Rogan’s “language about race," she wrote in a note on Instagram. 

The combined exodus further escalates a dispute over the streaming service’s support for Rogan and intensifies questions about Spotify’s responsibility for monitoring content distributed on its platform to hundreds of millions of listeners. Young’s removal of his music from the service led the hashtag #spotifydeleted to trend on social media. While it’s not clear if all of the artists’ labels will comply with their requests, Arie’s efforts to draw attention to Rogan’s comments on race signals the backlash is spreading beyond Covid misinformation. 

“Neil Young opened a door that I must walk through," Arie wrote. “I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his Covid interviews. For me, it’s also his language around race."

Rogan, 54, was criticized last month after his interview with Jordan Peterson, a conservative YouTube personality. In that conversation, Rogan said it’s “very strange" that anyone would call themselves Black unless they’re from the “darkest place" of Africa. The comments and Spotify’s willingness to provide a platform for such rhetoric are “deeply disturbing," David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in an e-mailed statement last week. “Joe Rogan and his friends like Jordan Peterson can describe it however they want - as ’they’re just asking questions’ or ’they’re just discussing skin color’ - but the simple reality remains that they are doing so to perpetuate a system where heterosexual cisgender white men remain in positions of power, while acting like they’re targeted victims."

Separately this week, the creators of “Science Vs", an award-winning podcast that streams on Spotify, announced on Twitter that they will focus on fact-checking Rogan and other sources of misinformation on the platform and pause production of other content. The show is produced by Gimlet, which Spotify purchased in 2019. 

Spotify has invested billions in podcasting and advertising technology to turn its money-losing music platform into a profitable audio service. It struck a deal in 2020 with Rogan worth more than $100 million. In contrast, many musicians say their streaming royalties are far too meager. 

 

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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Published: 02 Feb 2022, 07:56 AM IST
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