Indicators of a Cultural Divide
Administration of the disaster in america 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 government who grew up in a suburb of Stockholm, and most of the firm’s engineers and longest-tenured staff are based mostly.
Free expression is a deeply held perception in Sweden. Many staff there — and in america — have 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 position of censor. “We’re not within the enterprise of dictating the discourse that these creators wish to have on their exhibits,” he instructed staff 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 eradicate 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, based on Mark Mulligan, an business analyst with Midia Analysis.
“That might put in danger their future podcast technique,” Mr. Mulligan mentioned.
In a current memo to staff, Mr. Ek wrote that “canceling voices is a slippery slope” however acknowledged that various 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. Further reporting was contributed by Nicole Sperling in Los Angeles and Marc Tracy and Jessica Cheung in New York.