It seems that Spotify is finally backing down!
Earlier this week, “Heart of Gold” singer Neil Young said that he was pulling his music from the streaming service after they refused to regulate COVID-19 misinformation on their platform.
Why Did Neil Young Take His Music Off Of Spotify?
In early January, hundreds of medical professionals, scientists, and researchers signed an open letter asking Spotify to stop “mass-information events” and monitor COVID-19 misinformation being spread on its platform. Many of them called for Spotify to regulate “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the podcast hosted by Joe Rogan.
However, when Spotify didn’t respond to the letter, Young decided to pull off the streaming service and singer Joni Mitchell soon joined him in solidarity. Rumors started swirling that “Copacabana” singer Barry Manilow was about to join them, but Manilow recently a statement to Twitter dismissing the rumors.
Many fans also joined in solidarity to the point where Spotify shut down their live customer service line because they were getting so many complaints. Neil Young even started promoting a free 4-month subscription to Amazon Music to convince fans to make the switch over to any other streaming service but Spotify.
On Saturday, the Internet was swirling that Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters was about to pull out of Spotify as well. After that news went out – and after a drastic drop in stock prices – Spotify realized that they had to do something.
Spotify Finally Agrees To Regulate COVID-19 Misinformation
On Saturday afternoon, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek posted a statement to Spotify’s website to address the controversy and announce that they were going to start adding content advisories to podcast episodes that contained discussions about COVID-19.
“A decade ago, we created Spotify to enable the work of creators around the world to be heard and enjoyed by listeners around the world,” the statement began. “To our very core, we believe that listening is everything. Pick almost any issue and you will find people and opinions on either side of it.”
“Personally, there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly,” he continued. “We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users. In that role, it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them.”
However, he said that 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.”
To address the controversy, they are now publishing their Platform Rules, which will be available to read on their newsroom page. Ek added that the rules have been written in various languages to help users around the world understand “how Spotify assesses all content on our platform.”
In addition, they are working to add “a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.”
“This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics, and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources,” he continued. “This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.”
They will also begin “testing ways to highlight our Platform Rules in our creator and publisher tools to raise awareness around what’s acceptable and help creators understand their accountability for the content they post on our platform.”
“I want you to know that from the very first days of the pandemic, Spotify has been biased toward action,” he continued. “We launched a variety of educational resources and campaigns to raise awareness and we developed and promoted a global COVID-19 Information Hub.”
“We donated ad inventory to various organizations for vaccine awareness, funds to the World Health Organization and COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) to increase vaccine equity and supported the Go Give One fundraising campaign,” he added. “And we established a music relief project to support the creative community. While this is not a complete list, I hope it gives you a sense of how seriously we’ve approached the pandemic as a company.”
“I trust our policies, the research and expertise that inform their development, and our aspiration to apply them in a way that allows for broad debate and discussion, within the lines,” he went on. “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.”
He concluded, “That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we are committed to learning, growing, and evolving.”