Spotify Chief Content Officer Calls Joe Rogan Events a ‘Learning Experience’

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Joe Rogan’s Spotify profile is seen in front of the Spotify logo displayed in this photo illustration taken February 7, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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Feb 9 (Reuters) – Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content officer (SPOT.N), told advertisers at a conference on Wednesday that the backlash around popular American podcaster Joe Rogan’s podcast had been a “real experience of learning” for the streaming service.

“We believe we have a responsibility to support creator expression, but also to balance that expression with the safety of our users and our advertisers,” said Ostroff, who has been a key driver in Spotify’s work. to turn the platform into a top podcast hub, speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual conference in New York.

The streaming giant has come under fire after Rogan, who signed a $100 million deal with Spotify in 2020, aired controversial views on COVID-19 on his show and drew protests from artists Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and India Arie. Young said Spotify had “become a hotbed of potentially deadly COVID misinformation.”

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Last week, Rogan apologized and Spotify said it would add a content advisory to all podcast episodes on its platform with a discussion of the virus. On Saturday, Rogan apologized again for using racial slurs after a montage video surfaced showing him saying the N-word repeatedly.

“We spoke to Joe Rogan and his team about some of the content…on his shows, particularly his racially insensitive language history, and Joe decided to pull episodes from our platform,” Ostroff said. . She said Spotify doesn’t have editorial control over “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, but supports the decision.

Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek said in a recent letter to staff seen by Reuters that he condemned Rogan’s racial slurs and other comments, but would not remove him from the platform.

The controversy marks the latest example of a major tech company facing fury over its content moderation practices. Social media platforms such as Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook (FB.O), video sites like Alphabet’s YouTube (GOOGL.O) and streaming service Netflix have all come under scrutiny on the content they allow on their services.

Ostroff called “the dilemma of moderation versus censorship” the biggest challenge facing “all platforms today.” She said there was no silver bullet, but the Spotify team was still looking to see how they could do better.

She also urged advertisers to get involved and help grow the business, saying “we really want to be able to be good partners.”

Spotify has invested over $1 billion in the podcasting industry. Last week, it posted higher-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter and reported 406 million monthly active users, up 18% from last year, although its subscriber forecast for the quarter in prices are lower than Wall Street estimates. Read more

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Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford Editing by Nick Zieminski

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