Late last week, we first reported that Spotify employees were demanding direct editorial oversight over the recently-acquired Joe Rogan Experience podcast. That would include the ability to directly edit or remove sections of upcoming interviews, or block the uploading of episodes deemed problematic. The employees also demanded the ability to add trigger warnings, corrections, and references to fact-checked articles on topics discussed by Rogan in the course of his multi-hour discussions.
Some of the group’s demands have already been met by Spotify management, though a refusal to allow further changes is stirring talk of a high-profile walkout or strike. According to preliminary plans shared with Digital Music News, the strike would principally involve New York-based Spotify employees, and would be accompanied by protests outside Spotify’s Manhattan headquarters. Other aspects would involve media appearances and coordination with other activist organizations.
For Spotify, the decision to offer some concessions may have only emboldened demands for wide-scale editorial oversight.
During the transition of Rogan’s podcast episodes onto the Spotify platform, multiple past episodes were omitted. Those included interviews with Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, and Alex Jones. Additionally, Rogan issued a rare public apology and correction over his claim that left-wing anarchists had set fires in Oregon, a point that was made during a recent interview with Douglas Murray. The apology is now believed to be the result of pressure from Spotify staffers.
But those measures apparently don’t go far enough. Rogan’s claim during the Murray podcast is still part of the podcast recording, despite demands that the offending section be removed or directly corrected within the audio itself. It now appears that Spotify is unwilling to directly edit or otherwise alter any existing episodes, with content alteration considered a bright line that shouldn’t be crossed.