After a bruising week, Spotify Technology SA on Sunday said it would add content advisories to certain podcasts and improve transparency about its misinformation policy.
Last week, rock icon Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify SPOT, +0.97%, citing the spread of disinformation on the streaming-music platform, specifically citing Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. Artists such as Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren also pulled their music, while on Sunday ’90s alt-rock band Belly posted “Delete Spotify” on its Spotify profile. Calls to cancel Spotify have surged on social media in recent days.
Spotify had kept quiet for most of the week, but in a blog post Sunday, co-founder and Chief Executive Daniel Ek announced some changes, while not mentioning Young or Rogan by name.
“We have had rules in place for many years but admittedly, we haven’t been transparent around the policies that guide our content more broadly,” Ek said. “Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time.”
In an Instagram post, Rogan himself said he was not trying to promote misinformation and that he will book doctors with different opinions after talking to “controversial ones.” Rogan also said he would be “happy” to have advisories.
“Sure, have that on there, I’m very happy with that,” Rogan said.
Ek announced Spotify will publicly publish its previously internal-only platform rules; will add content advisories on any podcast episode that discusses COVID-19; and will test ways to ensure content creators are held more accountable to the platform’s rules. Spotify has also created a COVID-19 information hub intended to provide reliable, accurate information.
Ek said: “Personally, there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly. We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users.”
“It is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them,” he added. He did not elaborate on what those consequences may be.
Spotify shares tumbled nearly 12% last week, knocking off more than $3 billion in market cap over the past five trading days, as the S&P 500 SPX, +2.43% gained about 1%. The stock has lost 26% year to date, and is down 45% over the past 12 months, compared to the S&P 500’s loss of 7% this year and gain of 19% over the past 12 months.