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Spotify CEO Defends Handling of Joe Rogan Situation, Downplays Artists’ Catalogue Removal

“I think the important part here is that we don’t change our policies based on one creator,” Daniel Ek says

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek defended the streamer’s handling of the Joe Rogan situation — and downplayed the impact of artists like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and more removing their music from the streaming service — during an earnings report Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

The earnings call came just days after Spotify imposed a new “content advisory” warning on Covid-19 discussions in the aftermath of artists and podcasters ditching the streaming service over the “misinformation” pumped out by the Joe Rogan Experience; despite the controversy, Spotify has stood behind Rogan, even though his Experience is now subject to the advisory warnings.

“I think the important part here is that we don’t change our policies based on one creator nor do we change it based on any media cycle, or calls from anyone else,” Ek said during the earnings call. “Our policies have been carefully written with the input from numbers of internal and external experts in this space. And I do believe they’re right for our platform. And while Joe has a massive audience — he is actually the number one podcast in more than 90 markets — he also has to abide by those policies.”

As for the economic impact of the boycott of sorts inspired by Young and others, Ek said it was too early to gauge how it might affect the company’s revenues. “Usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months and not days. But I feel good about where we are in relation to that and obviously top line trends look very healthy still,” Ek said.

(Spotify’s stock price has dropped in the week since Young pulled his music, but that dip is blamed more on factors like slower growth forecast than the fact that people can’t stream Harvest; in fact, Spotify’s stock has dropped from a high of $387 in Feb. 2021 to $166 at press time, an overall plummet that predates any Rogan controversy.)

On Thursday, podcast Roxane Gay became the latest content provider to part ways with Spotify, joining a growing faction that includes all members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Nils Lofgren, and podcasters like Bhene Brown and Mary Trump.

“Obviously, it’s been a few notable days here at Spotify,” Ek added. “There’s no doubt that the last several weeks have presented a number of learning opportunities.”

From Rolling Stone US