The Joe Rogan Effect Continues: Spotify Debuts 'Safety Advisory Council' To Address Thorny Content

Zinger Key Points
  • Spotify did not cite Rogan in announcing the new council.
  • Rogan did not publicly comment on the council's creation.

The brouhaha concerning Joe Rogan’s podcast that scalded over earlier this year continues to resonate as Spotify Technology SA SPOT announced the formation of a “Safety Advisory Council” designed to offer third-party input on problematic content and online behavior.

What Happened: In a corporate blog post, Spotify unveiled this new body as “the first safety-focused council of its type at any major audio company,” adding that its 18 founding members were “individuals and organizations around the world with deep expertise in areas that are key to navigating the online safety space.”

“At a high level, the council’s mission is to help Spotify evolve its policies and products in a safe way while making sure we respect creator expression,” the company stated. “Our council members will advise our teams in key areas like policy and safety-feature development as well as guide our approach to equity, impact, and academic research.”

“Council members will not make enforcement decisions about specific content or creators,” the company added. “However, their feedback will inform how we shape our high-level policies and the internal processes our teams follow to ensure that policies are applied consistently and at scale around the world.”

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Why It Happened: Spotify did not mention Rogan by name when announcing the council’s formation, but it was obvious that his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” inspired its creation.

During the first quarter, the company was pressured to address high-profile complaints of medical misinformation and racially insensitive commentary on Rogan’s past episodes. This included a minor exodus of performers led by legendary singer/songwriters Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to remove their music from Spotify to protest Rogan’s content. Spotify has removed multiple older episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that generated complaints — the exact number is unclear, with sources putting it between 70 and 113.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has both distanced himself from Rogan’s episodes while standing by his star podcaster. In a memo to the Spotify staff earlier this year, Ek said Rogan’s comments “do not represent the values of this company” — yet he insisted “canceling voices is a slippery slope” and he had no plans for “silencing” Rogan.

For his part, Rogan did not publicly comment on the council’s creation.

Photo: Joe Rogan with theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku; photograph courtesy of Joe Rogan's Instagram page

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