Speed Reads

the Daniel Ek experience

Spotify CEO defends working with Joe Rogan despite finding 'many things' he says 'very offensive'

The CEO of Spotify reportedly defended the company's decision to work with Joe Rogan, even though the podcast host says "very offensive" things, in a town hall meeting with "frustrated" employees.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek delivered a speech to employees Wednesday addressing the growing controversy over COVID-19 misinformation spread on Joe Rogan's podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, a Spotify exclusive, The Verge reports. Ek reportedly acknowledged employees feeling "disappointed, or angry, or even hurt" but defended the deal with Rogan, saying Spotify "needed to find leverage" with companies like Amazon and Google by signing exclusive podcast agreements.

"To be frank, had we not made some of the choices we did, I am confident that our business wouldn't be where it is today," Ek said.

Ek also reportedly defended Spotify as being a "platform" and not a "publisher," telling employees it doesn't have creative control over Rogan's show and doesn't agree with everything he says. 

"I understand the premise that because we have an exclusive deal with him, it's really easy to conclude we endorse every word he says and believe the opinions expressed by his guests," Ek said, per The Verge. "That's absolutely not the case. There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive. But let me go back to what I said earlier, if you want even a shot at achieving our bold ambitions, it will mean having content on Spotify that many of us may not be proud to be associated with." 

But Ek's "sentiments rang hollow" to some employees, who internally expressed disappointment with his defense, The Verge wrote, citing a source as saying that "people ​​are feeling increasingly frustrated" inside the company.

Ek also defended Spotify during an earnings call Wednesday, The New York Times reports, saying "we don't change our policies based on one creator nor do we change it based on any media cycle."