Polarising podcast The Joe Rogan Experience is the most popular podcast on Spotify in 2020.
The streaming monolith recently unveiled its year-end Wrapped year-in-review campaign. Which offers an insight into the top musicians, songs, albums, and podcasts on its platform in 2020.
The blockbuster Spotify deal reportedly saw the streaming service shell out $100 million to rehome the Joe Rogan phenomenon to its platform.
A UFC “colour commentator” Rogan brings his combative nature to the Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most popular podcasts on the planet which cops almost 200 million downloads each month. The podcast launched on Spotify exclusively on September 1st.
Other podcasts leading the charge at Spotify HQ include TED Talks Daily, The Daily, the Spotify original The Michelle Obama Podcast and Call Her Daddy.
Joe Rogan’s relationship with Spotify has not been one without controversy. On Wednesday, September 16th, Spotify hosted a town hall meeting that saw employees raise concern over content in the Joe Rogan Experience archive.
A number of employees took umbrage with an episode that featured an interview with Abigail Shrier — author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. During the episode, Shrier associates transness with autism and explores her theory that YouTube and social media are influencing young people to transition.
“Many LGBTQAI+/ally Spotifiers feel unwelcome and alienated because of leadership’s response in JRE conversations. What is your message to those employees?” one employee raised during the meeting.
When The Joe Rogan Experience first landed on Spotify at the beginning of September, a select few notably controversial episodes were omitted. Episodes that saw Rogan interview Gavin McInnes, Chuck Johnson, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Alex Jones — the latter who’s own podcast was removed from Spotify for “hate content.”
Despite employee concerns, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek revealed that the company had reviewed the episode featuring Abigail Shrier, ultimately deciding against removing it from the platform.
“In the case of Joe Rogan, a total of 10 meetings have been held with various groups and individuals to hear their respective concerns,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. “And some of them want Rogan removed because of things he’s said in the past.”
“Others have concerns specifically over a recent episode,” Ek continued. “And Joe Rogan and the episode in question have been reviewed extensively. The fact that we aren’t changing our position doesn’t mean we aren’t listening. It just means we made a different judgment call.”
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