Is Spotify transphobic? Why you might want to delete your account
In a company meeting on Sept. 16, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek justified keeping episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, including transphobic conversations. The internal conversations are in regards to a July episode where Rogan interviewed Abigail Shrier, the author of the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, according to Vice.
Spotify has removed episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience during its process of becoming the podcast’s exclusive home. Conversations featuring right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, far-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, and comedian Chris D’Elia, who is facing sexual misconduct allegations, did not make the jump to Spotify.
According to questions submitted for the meeting attained by Motherboard magazine, many of the Spotify staff members feel alienated by Spotify’s decision to continue to host these episodes. The big question is: since Spotify bought the streaming rights to The Joe Rogan Experience for $100 million in May, are they the publisher of his content or just the distribution platform?
If they are the publisher of his content, they do have a license to censor & make some decisions when it comes to The Joe Rogan Experience. If they are just a distributor, then they can’t make those decisions but can remove episodes after the fact if they don’t fit within their community guidelines.
Podcasts, for obvious reasons, are different from music streaming. Most music is published by a record label, and Spotify is a distribution platform. Spotify can create their own podcasts and have many like The Joe Rogan Experience, as an exclusive streaming destination for it.
For podcasts, Spotify is much like Netflix. Netflix can produce their own content or they can buy content and become the exclusive streaming home for a series or movie. Spotify has been making strides to become a premiere destination for podcasts, and The Joe Rogan Experience is a huge grab for them.
The Joe Rogan Experience has been going for eleven years now and has over 1,500 episodes. The podcast repeatedly ranked in the top ten on Apple Podcasts and, as of writing, was ranked at No. 1. Rogan brings on a wide range of personalities for hour-long conversations and has guests that are outside the typical norms.
Rogan held out from publishing his podcast to Spotify because they weren’t paying as much as other platforms. His $100 million deal is a change of direction but will also include the video version of the show; all aspects will be available by Dec. 1
The Joe Rogan Experience has all different perspectives on the show, but his political guests tend to lean towards the far-right. Rogan doesn’t challenge his guests and lets them go on with any ideas. His podcast gives a platform for conspiracy theorists, racist, transphobic, and homophobic viewpoints.
Spotify has removed some podcast episodes for far-right or alt-right content and guests with sexual misconduct allegations. It’s a surprise that they decided not to remove episodes with transphobic content.
Removing Alex Jones may have to do with the fact that in 2018 Spotify removed Jones podcast for “hate content” in 2018 and doesn’t want anything with his name on the service. Rogan had been known for transphobic ideas long before this deal was made. In his 2016 comedy special, Triggered, features transphobic jokes about Caitlyn Jenner’s transition and blames it on being surrounded by his daughters.