Let them walk. It will demonstrate that Spotify values diversity of opinion, and it will send a strong message that the music streaming and podcast platform will not allow content decisions to be dictated by self-righteous Gen-Z Woke Warriors who want to muzzle anyone the far Left deems heretical.
In May, Rogan announced an exclusive multi-year licensing deal with Spotify that is reportedly worth more than $100 million, according to the Washington Post. But even that eye-popping amount was an incredible bargain that effectively cost Spotify nothing, considering its stock price closed up by 8.4% following the announcement of the deal. Spotify’s stock price has continued to rise and almost doubled since then.
This means the employees who are threatening to strike want to muzzle the person responsible for literally billions of dollars of the company’s value. Digital Music News reports that demands include the right to censor episodes and add trigger warnings and fact checks.
That’s not going to happen, for a few reasons:
When Rogan announced on May 19 that his podcast would move exclusively to Spotify, he wrote on Instagram that it was just a licensing deal, and that Spotify wouldn’t have any control over content. Surely his lawyers made that an ironclad part of the contract.
“Starting on September 1 the podcast will be available on Spotify as well as all platforms, and then at the end of the year it will move exclusively to Spotify, including the video version,” the comedian and podcast host wrote. “It will remain FREE, and it will be the exact same show. It’s just a licensing deal, so Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show. They want me to just continue doing it the way I’m doing it right now.”
In a video message, he also said that “It will be the exact same show. I am not going to be an employee of Spotify. We’re gonna be working with the same crew doing the exact same show. The only difference will be that it will now be available on the largest audio platform in the world. Nothing else will change, it will be free, it will be free to you, you just have to go to Spotify to get it.”
So from a practical standpoint, Spotify probably doesn’t have any ability to censor Rogan, even if it wanted to. The deal likely includes severe financial penalties if Spotify attempts to breach its agreement, which could result in a massive payout to Rogan.
More importantly, censoring Rogan would alienate his sizable following, and it would harm Spotify’s ability to lure other podcasters to the platform, causing the stock to crater.
No podcaster needs Spotify. All anyone needs is a microphone and some recording software, which is why there were already more than 1 million podcasts back when Rogan’s Spotify deal was announced.
According to VICE, the internal controversy led to an all-hands meeting with the CEO to discuss the situation, but the company’s top execs don’t seem willing to try to exert control over Rogan’s content.
Glenn Greenwald (who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Edward Snowden and the NSA illegally spying) posits that the reason the Left is against Rogan is because Rogan is culturally not like them, despite the fact Rogan is politically liberal and previously said he would vote for Bernie Sanders.
Another possible cause: Rogan has repeatedly said he will not vote for Biden due to the former vice president’s obvious cognitive decline.
Rogan: Podcasts mean freedom
On a recent podcast episode (“The Joe Rogan Experience” episode #1541, released Thursday, Sept. 24) Rogan talked with guest Bridget Phetasy about one of the reasons he chose to start his own podcast rather than take a job in radio.
Phetasy said she was so glad that she took Rogan’s advice and started her own podcast, to which Rogan said that podcasts are, “a vehicle for you to be independent and to not just make money, but also to get your voice out there. You can get your opinions out there in a way that, you don’t have anybody leaning over your shoulder.”
Rogan said that’s why he didn’t want to take a job in radio, and preferred to instead work for himself. “It’s so annoying when you say something funny and someone’s like ‘you can’t say that.’”
Rogan then relayed a story from back when he was hosting NBC’s “Fear Factor” to illustrate his point about why he preferred working for himself. For one of the challenges, contestants had to reach into a barrel of worms and grab a piece of paper with a number on it, and they had to eat that number of worms. One of the female contestants couldn’t make herself reach into the worms, so Rogan tried to talk her through it, giving her encouragement. When she still couldn’t do it, Rogan reached into the worms and grabbed one of the pieces of paper to show her that it wasn’t difficult. He then joked, “You see that? That’s why only men get to be president.”
NBC cut the line from the show.
Rogan said that he had a conversation with the producers afterward, and asked why he couldn’t do it, and he was told that people would get mad.
“Yeah, a lot of people get mad at jokes. But it’s pretty clear that I’m joking, and you know I’m a comedian, and everybody else does too,” Rogan said while telling the story.
That incident, he said, always stuck with him.
“Podcasts are the only place where a comic can say whatever the f*** they want,” Rogan said.
With that kind of mindset, and a loyal following that downloads his podcasts more than 190 million times per month, it’s hard to see Rogan allowing himself to be censored.
Feel to walkout in protest, Spotify employees. It shouldn’t be too hard to get another $120K+ job with Woke Warrior as a line on your resume. There are probably lots of companies that will be thrilled to hire self-righteous gen-Z who are willing to trash the company in public and tank their stock price if the CEO doesn’t accede to their demands.