Shares of Spotify (SPOT) stock fell briefly this afternoon after the Joe Rogan podcast became unavailable.
The podcast is still available on Spotify for streaming, but it was briefly unavailable this afternoon. Spotify has not commented on the unavailability. The scare follows the removal of 70 podcast episodes, which Digital Music News first reported earlier this month. In total, Spotify has yanked 113 separate episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, raising the specter of further unannounced deletions.
The Wall Street panic follows a stare-down with Neil Young, who demanded that his music be removed from the platform if Joe Rogan remained. Since then, several musicians like Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, and Nash and other content creators like India Arie have cut ties with the platform. Young, who railed against Rogan for spreading COVID misinformation, personally appealed to Spotify’s employees, telling them to leave before the organization “eats up their soul.”
Earlier today, Ava DuVernay’s podcast production company and Spotify quietly parted ways — without any explanation.
Spotify’s Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff told advertisers at a conference last week that the event has been a “real learning experience” for the audio streaming service. SPOT shares have plunged about 59% since hitting record highs just a year ago.
News also broke this week that the deal Spotify signed with Joe Rogan is worth $200 million. That’s $100 million more than previously reported. The multi-year deal sees Spotify as the home of the Joe Rogan Experience. So far, Rogan has said he is sticking with Spotify because they’ve stuck by him. Conservative video platform Rumble offered to match the $100 million offer – but Rogan turned it down.
Daniel Ek has also sent internal letters to Spotify staffers discussing the situation. “While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more,” Ek told his employees. “And I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”
“We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress,” Ek concluded. That message to staffers came just a day after Rogan apologized for using racial slurs on his podcast. But just a week after that apology, Rogan called the backlash a ‘political hit job.’