Spotify’s PR Crisis and Response

Spotify has been facing A PR crisis recently after multiple artists pulled their music from the music streaming platform. This was because, according to the statements from the artists, the platform wasn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of misinformation regarding the pandemic and vaccines. Toward the end of 2021, on the most popular podcast on Spotify, the Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan interviewed Dr. Robert Malone. Malone is a virologist who is also one of the creators of mRNA Technology. The virologist ended up making several baseless claims regarding the pandemic throughout the interview, saying that a mass formation psychosis has managed to lead people to believe that the COVID-19 vaccines were actually effective. He also discussed the fact that President Joe Biden was withholding data on treatments for the virus. Twitter decided to ban Malone for violations of the misinformation policy on the platform regarding the pandemic, and YouTube decided to remove the video of the interview from their platform.

Scientific Response

A couple of weeks later, a group of nearly 300 doctors, scientists, professors, and healthcare workers wrote an open letter to Spotify about the podcast. The group specifically called out Rogan’s podcast and the episode that featured Dr. Robert Malone, asking the streaming service to establish a public policy that would moderate misinformation on Spotify. A couple of weeks later, musician Neil Young shared a letter on his website directed to his record label and management team stating that he wanted all of his music removed from Spotify because of the platform’s spread of fake information regarding the pandemic and vaccines. He also stated that the platform could either have Neil Young, or Joe Rogan, but not both. While the letter was later removed from Young’s website, his music was also removed from the streaming platform.

Actions from Artists

After Young’s statement, the singer Joni Mitchell also released a statement agreeing with Young and decided to remove all of her music from the music streaming platform. The action was followed by the guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s band, Nils Lofgren, who pulled 27 years’ worth of music from the platform. The situation was also followed by a number of Spotify users deleting the app or canceling their subscription to Spotify.

Spotify’s Statement

Spotify finally decided to give a proper response to everything that happened, after first stating that Joe Rogan could interview whoever he wanted, saying that the platform would be adding a content advisory message to any podcasts that talked about the pandemic. Joe Rogan has also released a statement since then thanking the platform for continuously supporting him and his podcast, while a number of other artists have also decided to remove their music from the platform.

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