Spotify now has a Prince Harry problem

Words by
Andy Morris

1st February 2022

The world's largest streaming service has 172 million users. And a growing number of enemies.

Fresh from deciding to side with their $100m right wing firebrand Joe Rogan rather than some of the most respected musicians of the 20th century (Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren), Spotify have another issue with one of their high profile signings. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had announced a partnership in December 2020 and were set to launch a series of podcasts but have now released a statement clarifying their position on the network’s biggest name.

“Since the inception of Archewell, we have worked to address the real-time global misinformation crisis. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis- and disinformation every day,” the pair said in a statement posted on their official Instagram. “Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. 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.”

Rogan has a history of calling into question the validity of the responses to Covid 19, including allowing skeptics such as Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who has been spreading vaccine misinformation and giving credence to increasingly deranged conspiracy theories including leaders had hyptonised the public, compared it to the Holocaust and hospitals were given incentives for reporting deaths as covid related.

In a letter shared by Rolling Stone, 270 doctors, researchers, and experts expressed in the most severe tones about how this dangerous information is being piped into smartphones worldwide. “As scientists, we face backlash and resistance as the public grows to distrust our research and expertise. As educators and science communicators, we are tasked with repairing the public’s damaged understanding of science and medicine. As physicians, we bear the arduous weight of a pandemic that has stretched our medical systems to their limits and only stands to be exacerbated by the anti-vaccination sentiment woven into this and other episodes of Rogan’s podcast.”

The vehemence of the reaction appears to have surprised Spotify. 
“We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about Covid-19,” chief executive Daniel Ek said. “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.”