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Spotify CEO Finds Some Rogan Content “Very Offensive”

Spotify’s Daniel Ek has addressed his decision to standby podcaster Joe Rogan during a 15-minute speech to employees, at a company town hall.

“I know some of you feel disappointed, or angry, or even hurt, by some of this content and the fact that it remains on our platform,” he said towards the beginning of his speech.

Ek went on to continuously debunk the idea that Spotify has creative control over Joe Rogan’s podcast, saying they “don’t approve his guest in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions.”

Ek likens this to the deal Spotify has with its licensed music content, as well as other exclusive podcasts hosted by Brene Brown and Dax Shepard.

“People argue, though, that with the exclusivity that we‘re in fact a publisher and not a platform. So I wanted to take a step back and explain how I think about that. Let’s first define what a publisher is. A publisher has editorial control over a creator’s content. They can take action on the content before it’s even published. They can edit, they can curate, they can change the guest, they can even decide not to publish altogether. And even though JRE is an exclusive, it is licensed content.”

Ek noted that various historical episodes of Joe Rogan’s shows aren’t available on Spotify, as they violate the company’s rules.

“And I understand the premise that because we have an exclusive deal with him, it’s really easy to conclude we endorse every word he says and believe the opinions expressed by his guests. That’s absolutely not the case.

“There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive. But let me go back to what I said earlier, if you want even a shot at achieving our bold ambitions, it will mean having content on Spotify that many of us may not be proud to be associated with. Not anything goes, but there will be opinions, ideas, and beliefs that we disagree with strongly and even makes us angry or sad.

“So I think ultimately, this really comes down to two things. First, do we believe in our mission: 50 million creators and 1 billion users? And finally, are we willing to consistently enforce our policies on even the loudest and most popular voices on the platform? And I’m telling you, I believe both.”

In other words, Ek believes in platform growth above censoring voices, money above principles. Same as it ever was.

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