May 28, 2022
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Indicators of a Cultural Divide

Administration of the disaster in the US could have been additional difficult 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 staff are primarily based.

Free expression is a deeply held perception in Sweden. Many staff there — and in the US — had been indignant when Spotify removed music by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from playlists in 2018 for content material or conduct deemed offensive, a choice the corporate quickly 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 reveals,” he informed 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’ll want to eradicate faith, and politics, and comedy, and well being, and surroundings, and training, the record 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 accordance to Mark Mulligan, an business analyst with Midia Analysis.

“That might put in danger their future podcast technique,” Mr. Mulligan mentioned.

In a recent memo to employees, Mr. Ek wrote that “canceling voices is a slippery slope” however acknowledged that a variety 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. Further reporting was contributed by Nicole Sperling in Los Angeles and Marc Tracy and Jessica Cheung in New York.

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