Spotify CEO defends Alex Jones' appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast: 'It's more about the content itself'

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  • CEO Daniel Ek stands by Joe Rogan’s decision to have Alex Jones on his podcast, saying “We obviously review all the content that goes up. And it doesn’t matter if you’re Joe Rogan or anyone else.”
  • On Tuesday, an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” became available to stream, featuring prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has been banned from publishing on the platform since 2018.
  • Spotify’s CEO said that if the content itself violates the platform’s policies, action will be taken, but the company does not bar particular people from appearing as guests.
  • On Thursday morning earnings call, Spotify CFO Paul Aaron Vogel said Rogan’s podcast is currently the #1 podcast in various markets, including some non-English ones.
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After popular Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan had conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his popular show “The Joe Rogan Experience” earlier this week, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek defended Rogan’s decision.

“We want creators to create. It’s what they do best. We’re not looking to play a role in what they should say,” Ek said during an interview with Financial Times correspondent Anna Nicolaou. To further his point, Ek said the Spotify’s policies “do not entail what guests our podcasts invite on, it’s more about the content itself.”

When the episode hit the platform earlier this week, Spotify was criticized for allowing Jones back on the platform, even if it wasn’t for his own show. Jones has been banned from publishing on Spotify since 2018 for “repeated violations” of the platform’s policy on hate speech.

Rogan is also no stranger to controversy. In the past, the podcast host has been accused of making transphobic comments during his show, leading Spotify to have internal meetings about the backlash amid complaints from employees.

On Spotify’s Thursday morning earnings call, CFO Paul Aaron Vogel said Rogan’s podcast is currently the #1 podcast in various markets, including some non-English ones. This is even before the podcast becomes exclusive to Spotify at the end of the year. 

When asked about Jones’ appearance on the podcast during the same call, Ek referenced Spotify’s content policies as to why the episode is still available to stream.

“We obviously review all the content that goes up. And it doesn’t matter if you’re Joe Rogan or anyone else, we do apply those [content] policies,” Ek said. “But it’s important to note that this needs to be evenly applied, no matter if it’s internal pressure or external pressure as well, because, otherwise, we are a creative platform for lots of creators and it’s important that they know what they expect from our platforms. If we can’t do that, then there are other choices for a lot of creators to go to.”