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Spotify Sees Internal Strife Over Joe Rogan's Controversial Podcast Guests: WSJ

Spotify Sees Internal Strife Over Joe Rogan's Controversial Podcast Guests: WSJ

Employees of Spotify Technologies S.A. (NYSE: SPOT) have flagged the audio streamer’s top show, hosted by Joe Rogan, for review by moderators over comments on masks and the polio vaccine, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

What Happened: Discontent among employees has been brewing after the separate appearances of Alex Jones, a radio host, and Abigail Shrier, an author who has courted controversy over transgender issues, on “ The Joe Rogan Experience,”  according to the Journal.
Spotify employees, in September, called for editorial oversight of the content on Rogan's podcast after Shrier's appearance but the company turned down the request, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Horacio Gutierrez, the Swedish company’s chief legal officer, reportedly earlier wrote a note to the company’s managers asking them to encourage employees to report any content they thought violated content policies at Spotify.

The episode featuring Jones was flagged by the employees who highlighted the guest's comments surrounding masks and their effectiveness at stopping the transmission of the novel coronavirus, as well as, the polio vaccine causing sickness.

The Swedish audio streamer’s CEO Daniel EK defended the Jones interview last week. “We want creators to create. It’s what they do best. We’re not looking to play a role in what they should say,” Jonas told the Financial Times,

Why It Matters: The Joe Rogan Experience has become the top show on Spotify since it became available on the platform in September. Currently, Rogan’s show also occupies the top spot on Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) podcast charts.

The broadcast by Rogan would reportedly become exclusively available on Spotify later this year. The content was previously available on Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube platform.

Rogan’s deal with Spotify was reported to have been valued at more than $100 million over several years, the Journal reported earlier.

Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall said that the show likely has 190 million monthly downloads and a CPM of almost $50.

Spotify’s stock has gained nearly 50% since the announcement of the Rogan deal in May.

Price Action: Spotify shares closed nearly 10.1% lower at $239.89 on Friday.


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