Spotify acts on Covid misinformation amid pressure from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and more

Spotify acts on Covid misinformation amid pressure from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and more

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has announced that the platform will carry advisory warnings for any podcast that includes discussion of Covid-19.

It follows a stand-off with artists including Neil Young over Spotify’s star signing Joe Rogan, who has interviewed vaccine sceptics.

Daniel Ek announced that the new warnings will redirect users to a data hub of coronavirus facts.

After speaking out about the continued presence of Rogan on Spotify, Neil Young had his catalogue taken down from the platform. 

In a statement, Young called the music streaming giant "the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation". He also thanked his record label, Warner Music’s Reprise Records, for supporting his decision, which affects around 60% of all the music legend’s streaming consumption.

Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren followed suit by taking down their music, and even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intervened to express their “concerns”. They have a lucrative podcast deal with Spotify.

“We have had rules in place for many years but admittedly, we haven’t been transparent around the policies that guide our content more broadly,” said Ek. “This, in turn, led to questions around their application to serious issues including Covid-19.

“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. These issues are incredibly complex.”

The Covid advisory added to any podcasts on Spotify will also direct listeners to a dedicated Covid-19 hub, a resource that provides “data-driven facts”. 

Spotify is also publishing its longstanding platform rules. The policies were developed by its internal team with a number of outside experts. They are updated regularly to reflect the changing safety landscape.

Ek also noted its donation of ad inventory to organisations for vaccine awareness during the pandemic, as well as a music relief support fund.

“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,” added Ek. “That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we are committed to learning, growing and evolving.”

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