Sussexes 'concerned' about Spotify disinformation but will still work with platform

30 January 2022, 16:49 | Updated: 30 January 2022, 22:06

The Sussexes say they will continue working with Spotify despite their concerns
The Sussexes say they will continue working with Spotify despite their concerns. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have weighed in on the row over Spotify's role in spreading disinformation, saying they 'expressed concerns' about it, but say they will continue to work with the company.

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The couple signed a lucrative deal with the streaming giant to host and produce podcasts in late 2020.

The deal was estimated to be worth around 25 million US dollars - or £18 million.

In a statement on Sunday, the couple's charity Archewell said they had been expressing concerns to Spotify about the issue since the charity's inception, and continue to do so "to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis".

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It comes after a number of artists ditched the platform due to controversial content such as The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has been known to air vaccine-sceptical views.

An Archewell spokesperson said the couple are "committed to continuing" their work with the streaming platform.

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"Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis- and disinformation every day," the spokesperson said.

"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."

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It comes after Joni Mitchell announced on Saturday that she would remove her catalogue from Spotify "in solidarity" with Neil Young.

Young's music is being taken down from the platform after he reportedly offered it an ultimatum to remove either his work or The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Following Young's reported concerns, Spotify said it aimed to balance "both safety for listeners and freedom for creators" and had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.

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The platform acquired The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2020, reportedly for more than 100 million dollars (£77 million).

Stand-up comedian Rogan, 54, has previously attracted controversy for suggesting the young and healthy should not get vaccinated.

Later on Sunday, Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, said: "We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users.

"In that role, it is important to me that we don't take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them."

Mr Ek also announced that the company has published its "long-standing Platform Rules" after admitting it had not been "transparent around the policies that guide our content more broadly".

He said the platform is also working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about Covid-19.

"I trust our policies, the research and expertise that inform their development, and our aspiration to apply them in a way that allows for broad debate and discussion, within the lines," he added.