“If we only wanted to make content that we all like and agree with, we will need to eliminate religion, and politics, and comedy, and health, and environment, and education.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told his employees that keeping Joe Rogan is a business decision, but also a place for free speech:
“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,” Ek told staffers in an impassioned 15-minute speech at a town hall Wednesday, according to audio obtained by The Verge.
“There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive,” Ek conceded, calling the fallout “incredibly complicated” and a learning moment.
But 54-year-old UFC commentator Rogan is “the number one podcaster in the world by a wide margin,” Ek stressed, noting he was leading 93 markets.
Boomers Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from the streaming platform because of Rogan’s podcast and his views on COVID-19.
A few others left, too. But no one compares to Rogan.
Ek reminded the employees that they must have deals with content that is “a hard pill for many to swallow” if they want to achieve their goal: “50 million creators and a billion users.”
Therefore, the employees must tolerate free speech. The horror, right!?
Spotify has rules and guidelines, “but there will be opinions, ideas, and beliefs that we disagree with strongly and even makes us angry or sad.”
Independence and diversity are important for Spotify:
He said it was “really critical that creators are able to use their voice independently” and that Spotify has “diverse voices.”
“We’re not in the business of dictating the discourse that these creators want to have on their shows,” he said.
While the Rogan row surrounds accusations of misinformation over COVID-19, there are numerous other divisive topics that would also spark calls for censorship, he warned.
“If we only wanted to make content that we all like and agree with, we will need to eliminate religion, and politics, and comedy, and health, and environment, and education,” Ek said, adding that “the list goes on and on and on.”
“Spotify is for allowing conversation and sparking thought,” he said of the platform that currently has 11 million creators and 3.6 million podcasts.
Good for Ek. I hope he doesn’t end up caving. I also like that he admitted it was a business decision. No shame want your company to stay in business and thrive.
Neil Young and Joni Mitchell suck anyway.DONATE
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