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Young & Mitchell v Rogan: Spotify feud erupts over Rogan’s Covid claims

The Story:

The music streaming platform Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young and Joni Mitchell’s music after the company refused to take down Joe Rogan’s podcast amid the musician’s objections that it spread vaccine misinformation.

Young stated: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Rogan has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most consumed media products on the planet”. His podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, is Spotify’s most popular. In 2020, Rogan signed a $100m deal that gave the streaming giant exclusive rights to his show.

A few weeks ago, 270 doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals and professors wrote an open letter to Spotify, expressing concern about medical misinformation on Rogan’s podcast.

Rogan has apologised to the company and vowed to do better. In a 10-minute long Instagram video posted on Monday, he said he would “try harder to get people with differing opinions on” his show – which averages 11 million listeners per episode.

Spotify has also announced that it will put a “content advisory” on “any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19”.

Higginson says:

Young and Mitchell are highlighting an important point while risking potential loss of income to do so. 

Joe Rogan has been found to be presenting evidence that has been proved to be untrue without proper scrutiny. Without being challenged, misinformation can soon become mainstream.

Spotify should not be profiting from spreading such misinformation that is placing a heavy burden on health services around the world as well as costing lives as people make decisions not to vaccinate based on false information. 

The streaming service adding an advisory disclaimer is a step in the right direction which recognises that it is now a publisher rather than a music streaming site.

Read more here.

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