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Spotify won’t ditch Joe Rogan, but tech issue forces his podcast down

Spotify is blaming a technical issue for the controversial Joe Rogan Experience podcast briefly disappearing from the platform on Friday.

With some speculating over whether the company had experienced a change of heart over the lightning rod presenter, the company was quick to clear up the issue was was nothing of the sort.

A Spotify spokesperson said (via Rolling Stone): “It’s a technical issue affecting a number of our shows and should be resolved soon.” Indeed, shows like Bill Simmons’ The Ringer were also absent for a while.

The Joe Rogan Experience has been at the centre of controversy over the alleged presence of Covid-19 misinformation expressed by guests on his show. The likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell requested their music be removed from the streaming service in protest. Spotify chose Rogan without blinking.

Adding to the controversy were videos of Rogan using racial slurs during archive episodes of his podcast, which he later apologised for in an Instagram video. Adding further fuel to the fire was a report from the New York Times this week saying Spotify’s deal with Rogan was worth $200m, rather than the $100m sum originally reported.

Spotify has stood firm against criticism of its association with Rogan and claims to have a clear policy it follows for the removal of content. However, the company has not published it publicly, leading to even more criticism over the absence of transparency.

Earlier this month, at a company ‘town hall’ meeting, founder and CEO Daniel Ek told employees: “If we want even a shot at achieving our bold ambitions, it will mean having content on Spotify that many of us may not be proud to be associated with,” he says. “Not anything goes, but there will be opinions, ideas, and beliefs that we disagree with strongly and even makes us angry or sad.”

It was clear then that Rogan’s position on the platform was not under threat; today’s technical issues notwithstanding.

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