Some great insights as usual from John Gruber on the Neil Young/Joe Rogan/Spotify situation. I’ve been really bothered about all of this, as a Spotify subscriber (and as someone who does have some of my own music available on Spotify, as insignificant as it is).
Getting Joe Rogan kicked off of Spotify would in no way hinder his freedom of speech. As Gruber notes, his audience shrank when he went exclusive to Spotify. What bothers me right now is that, as a Spotify customer, I am paying Joe Rogan to spout his lies and nonsense. If it’s more important to limit his reach, then keeping him Spotify-exclusive is good. If it’s more important that I not implicitly endorse his garbage with my wallet, then one of us has to go. (And it will surely be me.)
On another level, what really bothers me about this is that Spotify has exclusive “podcasts” at all. That’s not what a podcast is, technically speaking. A podcast is just a blog, an RSS feed, that has an audio (or video) file attached to it. That’s what Gruber means about Apple not “hosting” Steve Bannon’s podcast. Apple doesn’t literally host the files. Their directory just points you to the URL. Spotify owns Joe Rogan’s podcast. It’s not really a podcast at all, because it doesn’t exist outside of Spotify’s ecosystem.
So as I see it, Spotify is doubly wrong here: they’re platforming Joe Rogan, and they’re muddying the average person’s already muddy understanding of how all of this technology works. Boo.
And of course once again I have to end with this.