31 January 2022

Joe Rogan addresses podcast controversy as he apologises to Spotify and vows to ‘do better’

31 January 2022

Joe Rogan has responded after a number of musicians and celebrities voiced concern that the podcaster was disseminating misinformation regarding Covid-19 via streaming service Spotify.

In a 10-minute-long video posted online, Rogan vowed that he would “try harder to get people with differing opinions on” and “do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics”.

Rogan signed a $100m deal with Spotify in 2020 for the rights to his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which reaches an estimated 11 million listeners per episode.

Describing his podcast as “just conversations” which “started off as … having fun and talking,” he said in the clip that he felt “a lot of people … have a distorted perception of what I do.”

“It’s become what it is today, which is some out of control juggernaut that I barely have control of,” he said. “Often times I have no idea what I’m gonna talk about until I sit down and talk to people.”

“I am gonna do my best in the future to balance things out.”

Defending two recent episodes which featured guests who shared Covid-19 conspiracy theories, Rogan called them “highly credentialed … people [with] an opinion that’s different from the mainstream narrative.”

He also used the post to apologise to Spotify, saying: “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 from it.”

The furore began last week after folk musician Neil Young demanded that his music was removed from the streaming service, telling them that they could have him or Rogan, but not both.

Within 48 hours, Young’s music was pulled, with Spotify issuing a statement saying that it aimed to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators” and had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.

It wasn’t enough for some, however, with Joni Mitchell announcing on Saturday that she would remove her catalogue from Spotify “in solidarity” with Young.

Rogan clarified in his video that he is “not mad at” Neil Young and described himself as a lifelong fan of the musician.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have their own lucrative deal with Spotify, have also been “expressing concerns” about Covid-19 misinformation, but say that they intend to remain with the streaming giant.

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