Spotify’s Joe Rogan deal is said to be worth over $200 million
signs of a cultural divide
Managing the crisis in the United States may be more complicated as Spotify is headquartered in Sweden, about 4,000 miles away, where Mr. Eck, a publicity-shy executive who grew up in a suburb of Stockholm, and several of the company’s engineers And the longest-stay employees are based.
Free expression is a deep belief in Sweden. Many employees there – and in the United States – were outraged when Spotify hired R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from playlists in 2018 after content or conduct was deemed objectionable, a decision the company quickly reversed.
Mr Ek has made it clear that he is wary of playing the censor. “We are not in the business of determining the discourse that these producers want to put on their shows,” he told staff in a speech reported by The Verge earlier this month, “if we only wanted to create content that What we all love and agree with, we will need to eliminate religion, and politics, and comedy, and health, and the environment, and education, the list goes on and on.
As a business matter, censoring Mr. Rogan could alienate his fan base and set a slippery precedent with other podcasters, according to Mark Mulligan, an industry analyst at Media Research.
“It could jeopardize their future podcast strategy,” Mr Mulligan said.
In a recent memo to staff, Mr. Eck wrote that “voice cancellation is a slippery slope” but acknowledged that several episodes of Mr. Rogan’s show were taken off the stage. He wrote that Mr Rogan had decided to remove him after meetings with Spotify executives and “his own reflections”.
Katherine Rosman And ben sisario reported from New York, Mike Isaacs reported from Oakland, California, and Adam Satriano Reported from London. Additional reporting was contributed by Nicole Sperling in Los Angeles and Mark Tracy And Jessica Cheung in New York.
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