"Anti-vaccinationism made Spotify profitable"

spotify joeroganSpotify has published their final accounts for 2021. They made a modest profit. It's hard for me to comprehend and accept. I'm shocked and appalled. I never thought this could happen. The operating income amounted to €94m ($108m). Spotify has incurred significant operating losses in the past, to say the least. The accumulated deficit amounts to €3 220m ($3 689m). An almost unimaginable figure. With profits of this magnitude, Spotify will have eliminated the accumulated deficit in the year of 2056. But, it was not streamed music that made Spotify profitable. It was controversial podcasts. Podcaster Joe Rogan signed a $100 million deal in 2020 giving Spotify the exclusive rights. The Joe Rogan Experience has a massive audience, and is the no. 1 podcast in more than 90 markets. Neil Young decided to withdraw his music from Spotify because it gave a platform to Joe Rogan, whom scientists have accused of promoting falsehoods about vaccines. Neil Young spoke out: "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both." Joe Rogan defended himself. "I do not know if they're right. I don't know because I'm not a doctor; I'm not a scientist. I'm just a person who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them." CEO Daniel Ek is not known for good media management. The first line of defense was to state that Spotify is a platform, not a publisher. It didn't work. The second line of defense was the pathetic "We’ve heard you..." statement. The Communication Department burned the midnight oil making damage control purée. This included publishing the already existing Spotify Platform Rules, and highlighting the rules in the creator and publisher tools and adding "content advisory". Late and lame. CEO Daniel Ek said: "That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we are committed to learning, growing and evolving." It didn't work, either. The external controversy spilled over to internal turmoil. The employees were not impressed of how the management handled the matter. On the contrary; quite a few of them were angry, upset and disappointed. They live under the illusion that the company acts according to a code of conduct. The open and soft internal culture met the harsh and brutal reality. How will this play out? What's done is done, the dog barks and money talks.    

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