Neil Younger vs. Joe Rogan: Spotify’s Stance and Its Implications…

Neil Younger vs. Joe Rogan: Spotify’s Stance and Its Implications…

On January 24, Neil Younger penned a letter to his label and supervisor concerning the unfold of misinformation concerning Covid-19 perpetuated by America’s primary podcast, The Joe Rogan Expertise on Spotify. “They’ll have Rogan or Younger. Not each.”1 The ultimatum posed to the streaming service turned a name to motion for artists all over the place. Within the days that adopted, many different artists, together with Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, and India.Arie, adopted Younger’s lead and deliberate to take away their catalogs from the platform. With every artist making statements about points they take with the corporate, what began as a struggle towards misinformation shortly turned a a lot bigger exposé of Spotify’s ethics and dominance over the streaming business.

Elements in Spotify’s Stance

The Joe Rogan Expertise has been on Spotify since September of 2020, with over 11 seasons value of content material. In its first month alone, the present accounted for 4.5% of all Spotify podcast listening or 14.9 million hours. To not point out Spotify and Rogan’s $100 million deal to have all of his episodes solely streamed on their platform.2 However, Neil Younger recurrently accrued round six million month-to-month listeners, not even breaking into essentially the most important 500 artists on their service. From the numbers alone, Spotify clearly would have suffered a way more important monetary loss in the event that they sided with Younger, contemplating podcast adverts turning into a vital income.

Cash apart, Spotify additionally has the numbers to cause that the rising concern over the “infodemic” Rogan perpetuates has by no means deterred customers from the location. With no detrimental influence on their backside line thus far, Spotify seemingly has no cause to re-evaluate its stance on Rogan’s podcast. Of their 2021 This autumn report, Spotify boasted an 18% improve in Energetic Month-to-month Customers (AMU), with Premium Subscribers growing by 16%. Other than a rise in customers, Spotify cites that their “Advert-Supported Income reached a report 15% of complete revenues,” marking the primary time that ad-revenue has exceeded one billion {dollars} in a single yr for the corporate. This improve has been credited to the truth that “podcast income benefited from sturdy progress throughout present Spotify studios and our unique licensing offers.”3 Following Spotify’s latest podcast acquisitions, the corporate raised their Price Per Thousand Listeners (CPM) to promote on Spotify-exclusive reveals to upwards of $60.4. With roughly 11 million listeners per episode and three to 5 episodes per week, The Joe Rogan Expertise is probably going the “unique licensing deal” Spotify credit their important advert income too.

With thousands and thousands of {dollars} on the road and a contract to uphold, Spotify needs to be extraordinarily cautious with dealing with Rogan’s content material. Their deal entails that Rogan maintains inventive liberty over his present, however that isn’t to say that Spotify can’t disapprove of it. After the retaliation by artists on the platform, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek spoke with Rogan. The 2 agreed, ensuing within the removing of 113 episodes from the platform.5 All however one of many now-deleted episodes have been recorded previous to the Covid-19 pandemic and due to this fact stay unrelated to the problem of misinformation that sparked this controversy. Nevertheless, it does current a step in the appropriate route of Spotify siding with artists by eradicating inappropriate and offensive language from the platform, one thing many cited as a major cause for leaving.

Artists Comply with Younger’s Instance

After Spotify doubled down on their protection of Rogan, Younger’s actions have been adopted by different distinguished artists. Joni Mitchell was one of many first to take motion, and writing “Irresponsible persons are spreading lies which are costing individuals their lives” in her official assertion.6 India.Arie posted a video to her Instagram asserting her departure by making a compilation of instances Joe Rogan has used slurs and different hateful languages on his present. She additionally went on to say that “artists are underpaid and Joe Rogan will get paid all this cash, and it’s exhausting for me to, as of late, simply sit again and go, ‘Oh, nicely, that’s the way it goes.’”7

Spotify isn’t any stranger to widespread backlash from the music group. For years, numerous business professionals have criticized the corporate’s pitifully low royalty funds. The collective criticism of Joe Rogan cuts deeper, with many arguments rooted within the frustration that he needs to be paid thousands and thousands greater than the musicians whom Spotify was made for. For a lot of, eradicating music from the platform stems from emotions of being wronged by the corporate, which recurrently dishes out a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} to signal unique offers with podcasters whereas actively combating to pay artists much less.


With a lot of their favourite artists leaving the platform, shoppers additionally confronted the dilemma of probably shifting to different streaming platforms, following the digital location of their favourite artists’ music. On January 27th, 2022, Spotify was compelled to limit entry to its on-line and telephone help methods as a result of an inflow of cancellation requests and complaints, which precipitated an overload in its system.8 It’s unclear what number of subscriptions have been misplaced to this point as a result of this controversy. Nevertheless, the lack to deal with the quantity of the requests and the removing of particular episodes of the podcast may recommend that it was a major loss.

For now, Spotify stays the most important platform for music streaming, holding 31% of the market share, in comparison with Apple Music’s 15%, in second place.9 As for podcast streaming, Spotify has regularly been slicing into Apple Music’s lead. Though Spotify didn’t report listener numbers, their AMU progress fee throughout Q3 2021 steered they have been on the verge of taking up the primary spot. As the most important website for music streaming, Spotify can be crucial place for artists to add their music. With such a agency maintain in the marketplace, Spotify presents one of the best probability for impartial musicians to hook up with their target market. The streaming large is invaluable to the high-profile artists for that reason, and to take down Spotify would undoubtedly have detrimental repercussions for up-and-coming artists all over the place: a perspective that the eminent artists who’re leaving the platform may not notice.

Not All Artists are Multi-Millionaires

Waging a battle towards Spotify’s allowance of misinformation is a privilege that solely sure well-established, significantly rich artists have. Neil Younger accrued a web value of over $200 million by means of his a long time of reside efficiency, in addition to the sale of bodily information and merchandise. It’s the similar case for the opposite distinguished names which have adopted go well with: Joni Mitchell, $100 million; Nils Lofgren, $20 million; India.Arie, $6 million. Impartial artists shouldn’t have the identical privilege as these stars to take away their songs from a platform for ethical reasoning.

Nearly all of impartial artists shouldn’t have profitable sufficient careers to justify doing music full-time. Due to this fact, alternate income streams are a should for indie musicians, as a rule within the type of working a job exterior of their artistry, one thing the present Spotify deserters shouldn’t have to fret about. A survey by MIDiA Analysis together with Amuse discovered that “About three-quarters of impartial artists earned lower than $10,000 a yr from music.”10 Till small artists could be found, construct a fanbase, and have help to tour and manufacture merchandise, streaming will most probably be their major supply of music-related earnings. Since Spotify doubles the scale of its closest competitor, to “cancel” Spotify can be to remove the best (albeit, poor paying) alternative these artists should share their songs with the most important doable viewers.

Moreover, if an artist is signed, the choice to take away songs is on the discretion of their label. Most artist-label contracts preserve the appropriate of the label to distribute songs the place they see match, that means essentially the most worthwhile areas. Due to this fact, it isn’t shocking that high-profile artists, similar to Younger, satisfied their labels to take away their catalogs from Spotify. Smaller artists who usher in much less income won’t have as huge a voice inside their label, that means much less management over the place their music goes. The first mission of the report label and artist administration is to see their purchasers develop. As demonstrated above, Spotify is the dominant drive of the streaming business. Eradicating works from Spotify by unestablished artists would severely restrict their future progress capabilities, due to this fact disincentivizing these labels from taking motion.


A conclusion has but to be realized on this case, making it troublesome to inform the place Spotify will land. Whilst extra artists be part of the trigger, it’s exhausting to think about that Spotify will take severe actions to appease its person base. The corporate has repeatedly demonstrated that they’re completely market-driven, and their monetary studies could very nicely point out that they’re too huge to fail. In fact, there may be at all times an opportunity that sufficient customers develop uninterested in Spotify’s fixed mistreatment of artists and questionable morals and abandon the platform. Nevertheless, if historical past needs to be any indicator, Spotify may simply as nicely shake off this controversy identical to every other and, in a matter of weeks, return to their struggle to under-pay musicians out of the highlight as soon as once more.


  1. Andrews, Travis M. “For Many Musicians, Their Grudge towards Spotify Runs Deeper than Joe Rogan.” The Washington Put up. WP Firm, February 2, 2022.
  2. Ortiz, Nicole. “Joe Rogan Isn’t Spotify’s Solely Downside.” Adweek. February 8, 2022.
  3. Spotify Expertise S.A “Spotify Expertise S.A. Pronounces Monetary Outcomes for Fourth Quarter 2021.” Spotify Buyers, February 2, 2022.
  4. Carman, Ashley. “Say Goodbye to Your Favourite Podcast Promo Codes.” The Verge. December 14, 2021.
  5. Kim, Lisa. “Spotify Pulls Greater than 110 Episodes of Joe Rogan’s Podcast.” Forbes, February 7, 2022.
  6. Sisario, Ben. “Joni Mitchell Plans to Comply with Neil Younger off Spotify, Citing ‘Lies’.” The New York Instances, January 29, 2022.
  7. Kaufman, Gil. “Musicians vs. Spotify: Artists Who Have Joined Neil Younger in Eradicating Their Music.” Billboard, February 4, 2022.
  8. Warwick, Stephen. “Spotify Overwhelmed with Requests to Cancel Following Joe Rogan Saga.” iMore, January 29, 2022.
  9. Porter, Jon. “Streaming Music Report Sheds Mild on Battle between Spotify, Amazon, Apple, and Google.” The Verge. The Verge, January 20, 2022.
  10. Daniels, Melissa. “Why Impartial Musicians Are Changing into the Way forward for the Music Trade.” Forbes. July 11, 2019.


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