Indicators of a Cultural Divide
Administration of the disaster in the US could have been additional sophisticated as a result of Spotify’s headquarters is sort of 4,000 miles away, in Sweden, the place Mr. Ek, a publicity-shy govt who grew up in a suburb of Stockholm, and most of the firm’s engineers and longest-tenured workers are primarily based.
Free expression is a deeply held perception in Sweden. Many workers there — and in the US — had been indignant when Spotify eliminated music by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from playlists in 2018 for content material or conduct deemed offensive, a call the corporate shortly reversed.
Mr. Ek has made it clear that he’s cautious of taking up the function of censor. “We’re not within the enterprise of dictating the discourse that these creators need to have on their exhibits,” he advised workers earlier this month in a speech first reported by The Verge, including that “if we solely wished to make content material that all of us like and agree with, we might want to remove faith, and politics, and comedy, and well being, and surroundings, and schooling, the checklist goes on and on and on.”
And as a enterprise matter, censoring Mr. Rogan might alienate his legion of followers and set a slippery precedent with different podcasters, in keeping with Mark Mulligan, an trade analyst with Midia Analysis.
“That might put in danger their future podcast technique,” Mr. Mulligan mentioned.
In a latest memo to workers, Mr. Ek wrote that “canceling voices is a slippery slope” however acknowledged that plenty of episodes of Mr. Rogan’s present had been faraway from the platform. He wrote that Mr. Rogan had determined to take away them after conferences with Spotify executives and “his personal reflections.”
Katherine Rosman and Ben Sisario reported from New York, Mike Isaac reported from Oakland, Calif., and Adam Satariano reported from London. Extra reporting was contributed by Nicole Sperling in Los Angeles and Marc Tracy and Jessica Cheung in New York.