Spotify “Smartly Sides” With Joe Rogan

In one of the best marketing strategies ever deployed by an aging rocker, Neil Young publicly demanded that Spotify remove Podcaster Joe Rogan’s content. The reason? COVID ‘misinformation’ because Rogan dared to interview people who disagree with the current narrative being pushed by the mainstream media. Young went further and gave Spotify a request, something to the effect of either Joe goes or I go.

Spotify did the math in about three seconds and removed most of Neil Young’s music from the platform. In 2020 Spotify paid more than 100 million dollars for the exclusive rights to the Joe Rogan Experience, making it the flagship program of its podcast division. Joe Rogan’s podcast routinely gets over 190 million downloads a month and crushes most cable news with its reach.

Spotify did come out with a statement that added a wrinkle to the situation stating in part:

We are adding a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information shared by scientists, physicians, academics, and public health authorities worldwide, and links to trusted sources.

Spotify is trying to have its cake and eat it too. They cannot lose Rogan, generating millions of dollars and users for the platform. Still, they must appease the left-leaning totalitarians who want to censor all speech they disagree with. They also put a content advisory on ‘any podcast’ about COVID. If the warnings were only on Rogan’s show, it could harm the podcaster’s brand.

Rogan, for his part, was diplomatic in a statement on Instagram. He stressed that he always tried to balance his program’s views and strived to have competing theories sooner as guests after a controversial episode. Rogan also pointed out that yesterday’s misinformation is today’s truth by citing the ever-changing narrative on masks, vaccine efficacy, and the possible lab origins of COVID-19.

Whatever happens, in the future, Spotify will continue to back Joe Rogan for the near future. I suspect that Rogan, for his part, already forgot about the whole affair.