Spotify Adding Content Advisories to Podcasts With COVID Discussion Following Neil Young Controversy

    After Neil Young and Joni Mitchell decided to remove their music from Spotify, citing concerns over COVID misinformation on Joe Rogan’s Spotify-exclusive podcast, the streaming platform has announced plans to add a “content advisory” warning to any podcasts that include a discussion about COVID-19. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek released a statement yesterday (January 30) on the platform’s For the Record blog, writing that “there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly… it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor.”

    “We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19,” the statement continues. “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. 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.”

    As the statement notes, Spotify has also published its Platform Rules, making them viewable by the public for the first time. According to the guidelines, contributors must avoid “content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health.” These include “asserting that AIDS, COVID-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real,” “encouraging the consumption of bleach products to cure various illnesses and diseases,” or “promoting or suggesting that vaccines approved by local health authorities are designed to cause death.”

    Following Young, Joni Mitchell, and Nils Lofgren’s Spotify boycott, the band Belly recently changed their profile and header images on their Spotify artist pages with a graphic that reads “DELETE SPOTIFY” while exploring the “difficult” process of leaving the platform. Yesterday, it was reported that Spotify had lost more than $2 billion in market value after Young’s exit.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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