Music Business

Spotify CEO Ek responds to COVID controversy:’We’ve heard you’

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Sunday announced updated platform rules including the addition of a dedicated content advisory to podcast episodes that contain discussions about the virus.

The changes and open letter signed by EK came after a week when Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and others took their music and podcasts off the streamer over its ongoing support of popular anti-vax podcater Joe Rogan.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Joni Mitchell wrote in message posted on her website.

Spotify Responds

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

‘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,” wrote Spotify CEO Daniel Ek “These issues are incredibly complex. We’ve heard you – especially those from the medical and scientific communities.”

In response the controversy, Spotify is making its a”long-standing Platform Rules” public.

“These are rules of the road to guide all of our creators – from those we work with exclusively to those whose work is shared across multiple platforms.” Ek did not explain why the rules had not been made easily available much earlier or how podcasters could have been expected to know and follow them.

In a move that Spotify says is a first for a major podcast platform, they’re adding a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. This advisory will direct listeners to a dedicated Spotify COVID-19 Hub for more information.

“We take this seriously and will continue to partner with experts and invest heavily in our platform functionality and product capabilities for the benefit of creators and listeners alike,” wrote Ek.

Many online are still skeptical of Spotify’s attempt to counter the controversy and COVID disinformation. One is top Verge editor Nilay Patel:

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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