Joe Rogan, creator of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, is at the centre of backlash currently. It comes after musician Neil Young and several others threatened to pull their music from Spotify due to its failure to take action against the misinformation being spread on Rogan’s podcast about vaccines.
Rogan has made some mistakes like this before, last year he said that healthy young people did not need to be vaccinated, he later took back that statement apologising and calling himself a ‘f***ing moron.’
While he never claimed to be a medical expert the problems arose when he decided to host a plethora of vaccine skeptics including one particularly controversial guest who compared vaccing mandiates to Nazi Germany and gave opinions on a mass hypnosis.
Rogan is one of the platform’s most popular voices and he reportedly takes in an estimated $100million from Spotify. He pushed back against the label of ‘misinformation’ instead saying he hosts ‘ highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished’ guests who ‘have an opinion that is different from the mainstream narrative.’
Rogan did however admit that he does very little research ahead of his recording and promised to ‘do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics.’ He has also said he will have a more balanced guest list saying he will ‘try harder to get people with differing opinions.’ It is estimated that his show pulls in around 11 million listeners per episode.
Young did a brave thing by threatening to take his music off the platform and he drummed up support from others such as Joni Mitchell and Harry and Meghan. The only thing is Joe Rogan seems to have taken the accusations more seriously than Spotify.
Rogan apologised to Neil Young saying ‘I’m very sorry that they feel that way. I most certainly don’t want that. I’m a Neil Young fan. I’ve always been a Neil Young fan.’ and he apologised to his listeners and admitted fault telling them ‘If I pissed you off, I’m sorry … Do I get things wrong? Absolutely.’
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Rogan responded to the criticism saying he is ‘not trying to promote misinformation’ and that is is ‘not trying to be controversial’ Rogan says his podcast is simply a space to talk to people and have interesting conversations but he does recognise that recent opinions expressed regarding COVID vaccines could have repercussions.
In a statement Spotify CEO Daneil Ek said that new measures would be in place aimed at addressing misinformation on the streaming service including adding content advisories to any podcast episode discussing COVID-19.
There’s been a lot of conversation about information regarding COVID-19 on Spotify. We’ve heard the criticism and we’re implementing changes to help combat misinformation. https://t.co/ic8jfR1RNR
— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) January 30, 2022
His blog post did however seem to undermine the seriousness of the issue as it focused on the importance of free speech and declined to punish Rogan for promoting dangerous misinformation.
Spotify has rules that prohibit dangerous misinformation but they seem to be trying to avoid enforcing these rules on one of their highest grossing personalities. They have the exclusive rights to Rogan’s podcast while Young’s albums are also available on Amazon and Apple Music so it is evident one would be a bigger loss for the platform than the other.
Rogan is popular because of his defiant, funny, sometimes controversial opinions and Young telling Spotify they had to pick between his music and Rogan’s podcast was an error on his part as they clearly will choose Rogan.
Rogan produces 4 to 5 original podcasts a week with many lasting hours while Young has not written music since 2019 and his album that year Colorado was met with negative reviews and considered more of a political statement than a musical endeavour.
While Young’s intentions were right, how he went about it fell on deaf ears. We will have to listen to see if Rogan lives up to his promises of research and varied opinions.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Neil Young in concert Featured Photo Credit: Takahiro Kyono