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Spotify to add advisory notices

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the streaming giant will add advisory notices to any podcasts it hosts which discuss Covid-19.

Spotify to add advisory notices
Photograph: Foundry on Unsplash.

It is making the change after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from the platform in protest over what they described as misinformation from star host Joe Rogan.

“My pledge to you is that I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives, so we can maybe find a better point of view,” he said.

He added that he had “no hard feelings” towards Young or Mitchell.

“I’m not mad at Neil Young, I’m a huge Neil Young fan,” he said.

Rogan said he would “do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics…and have all the pertinent facts at hand” before discussing them on his podcast.

“I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time, and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” he said.

In a statement published on Spotify’s website, Ek wrote that it has “become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time.”

The rules say that podcasters should avoid content that “promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health.”

Rogan has said that he is “not an anti-vax person. I believe they’re safe and encourage many people to take them.”

In a statement posted on his website, Young called the streaming service “the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation. Lies being sold for money.”

Young was joined by singer Joni Mitchell, who has decided to remove her music from the streaming service.

“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” Joni Mitchell wrote on her website last Friday. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

In contrast tech entrepreneur Elon Musk posted a meme suggesting that he backs Rogan’s right to free speech and criticizing Young for trying to censor him.

The meme shows a picture of Young with the words, “If you won’t censor the guy I don’t like, I won’t let you listen to 'Keep on rocking in the free world',” referring to one of Young’s most famous songs.

Young, however, disputes the suggestion that he has a feud with Rogan claiming that his ire was directed against Spotify.

“I support free speech,” Young wrote on his website. “I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.”

The Joe Rogan Experience is Spotify’s most downloaded podcast, with a reported 200 million downloads per month.

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