On January 24, 2022, Spotify had their first major artist remove his music from their streaming platform. After hall of famer Niel Young found out that Spotify was providing a platform for misinformation, he removed his music from the platform, and many artists have begun to follow suit.
According to the Washington Posts’ Why artists are leaving Spotify, Joe Rogan apparently endorsed Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug that experts say does not help fight Covid 19. In addition, Rogan advocated for people not to get vaccinated.
Many artists used this as the final reason to leave, not the first. Artists make between $0.0033 to $0.0054 for each stream of a song, and now, musicians are having to compete with podcasts, which are usually exclusive to that one streaming platform. Based on the information provided by the Post, the Podcast was purchased for roughly $100 million and is exclusive to that platform. Young was not bringing in as many listeners per month, so he was also losing out.
After he left, Joni Mitchell followed along with Crosby, Stills, and Nash. However, not every artist who agrees can leave so easily. Most artists do not have control over their music. Musicians own publishing rights, but record labels own sound recording. Artists who cannot remove their music have changed their banners urging listeners to delete that app. Apart from not wanting to be associated with misinformation, artists are using this as a way to finally shine light on how little they make. T-Pain tweeted in December that it takes about 315 to make a dollar. With apps like Napster, it only takes 53.
Despite the fact that many artists that have left, Spotify is still trying to deal with the artists that have remained. They have removed over 70 of Rogans episodes for containing racial slurs or misinformation. He has publicly apologized, but none of the artists that left have returned.
Yet, despite the action the company has taken, the CEO Daniel Ek has openly stated, “We’re trying to balance creative expression with the safety of our users and this of course is a very complicated issue.”
Because Joe Rogan has such a large following, he could be potentially putting his listeners in danger. However, who is to say he is responsible for their actions? He is there to speak and they are there to listen, not to act on what he thinks. However, there are still the racy comments and episodes that he has that can be debated separately.