Spotify's Newly Published Content Rules Shed Light on Joe Rogan, Neil Young Brouhaha

Spotify published its platform rules Sunday after several big-name musicians removed their music over concerns the streaming service platformed podcasts that spread COVID-19 misinformation, including The Joe Rogan Experience.

In a statement, the platform CEO Daniel Ek announced a myriad of changes "to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time."

The decision comes after both Neil Young and Joni Mitchell announced they would remove their music from the service.

Young first made the decision after demanding Spotify platform either him or Rogan, who has been accused of spreading misinformation on his podcast including spreading false information about vaccines.

The guidelines require content creators to avoid promoting "dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health."

The rules then go into more detail, noting that content that promotes or suggests "that vaccines approved by local health authorities are designed to cause death" is not allowed.

The streaming service also considers content that encourages people to "purposely get infected with COVID-19 in order to build immunity to it" violates their rules.

In addition to publishing their guidelines, Spotify will also add a content advisory to podcast episodes including discussions of the virus that will direct listeners to COVID-19 information resources, the statement said.

Ek wrote that the streaming service will also have "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."

Ek defended the way Spotify has handled the controversy surrounding Rogan.

"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 wrote.

He added: "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."

Spotify publishes content rules
Spotify published their content rules after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music due to concerns about Joe Rogan’s podcast spreading misinformation on the platform. Above, the company’s logo is seen on a phone in Paris, France in January 2017. Chesnot/Getty Imagex

The controversy continued growing over the weekend, as musician Nils Lofgren joined Young and Mitchell in removing his music from Spotify. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also expressed their concerns to Spotify about COVID-19 misinformation.

"We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does," they wrote in a statement on Sunday.