According to Inquirer, “The Joe Rogan Experience” was the most listened to podcast in 2021, boasting millions of unique listeners every episode. In what was an estimated $100 million deal between Rogan and Spotify, “JRE” began streaming exclusively on the platform in January 2021.
Rogan is known for having a wide spectrum of guests on his podcast, ranging from mixed martial artists to climate specialists, and comedians to epidemiologists.
On December 21, 2021, Rogan released episode No. 1757 of his podcast, which featured Dr. Robert Malone, a scientist and physician who helped pioneer the mRNA technology which was used to develop the United State’s most prominent COVID-19 vaccines, specifically the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. During the podcast, Malone was critical of the vaccines’ safety and made the claim that Americans have fallen under “mass formation psychosis” due to COVID-19 rhetoric being spread by the media and government figures.
A few weeks after the podcast became available on Spotify, a letter was written and signed by an assortment of doctors, nurses, scientists and medical workers, which claimed that assertions made by Malone during the podcast were “baseless conspiracy theories.” The letter also called upon Spotify to “immediately establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform.”
Young Gave an Ultimatum to Spotify Demanding Them to Pick Between His Music or Rogan’s Podcast
In what is now a deleted letter to his record label and team, Young produced an ultimatum for Spotify: either the streaming giant keeps Rogan on their platform, or they keep him. “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” Young wrote via Rolling Stone. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Young outlined his reasoning for the ultimatum, claiming that Spotify is “spreading fake information about vaccines” by not censoring Rogan’s podcast.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” he wrote. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
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Spotify Sides With Rogan, Neil’s Record Label Asks for Spotify to Remove Music
According to a recent statement from the streaming service, Spotify has chosen to continue business as usual in regards to Rogan’s JRE podcast.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” a Spotify spokesperson said to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. “With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators.”
Spotify “has removed over 20,000 Covid-19-related podcast episodes since the start of the pandemic,” which infringed on their content policies the WSJ reported, as per the spokesperson.
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” he said.
As of 5 p.m. ET on January 27, 2022, Young’s music is still available on Spotify. However, Young’s record label, Warner Music Group Corp, “formally requested” that Spotify removes their client’s music, the WSJ reported.
According to the report, 60% of Young’s music is streamed on Spotify, which will be a major financial blow for the “Heart of Gold” singer.