Well, it has barely been a day with Joe Rogan starting his new $100 million dollars multi-year deal with Spotify and already the move is already generating controversy.
Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that there are numerous existing Joe Rogan podcast episodes missing from Spotify, perhaps most notably are the infamous and highly entertaining Alex Jones episodes. A Reddit thread has compiled a list of missing names and there are some recurring guests that come up.
The Chris D’Elia episodes are missing, the Alex Jones episodes and more bizarrely episode #463 with Louis Theroux is missing. A search for the Louis Theroux episode on YouTube also turns up empty, the episode appears to have been pulled.
I got curious about episode #463 and a search seems to suggest that the episode talked about Scientology quite a bit and well, The Church of Scientology are notorious for threatening legal action against anyone who dare say anything negative about them.
It is clear either Joe himself has selectively self-censored, or executives at Spotify deemed these episodes a problem. The Alex Jones episodes from a censoring perspective at least make the most sense, given Spotify was instrumental in helping get Alex Jones deplatformed a couple of years back.
This whole situation would be a lot less concerning for JRE fans, if Joe had not stated all episodes would be available on Spotify as can be seen in this clip below announcing the move.
Reading through Spotify’s FAQ page, you can see some of its content policies around hate speech could be used to censor episodes and possibly some of the ones listed in the above thread.
Although, given how many episodes Joe has recorded, I am having a hard time agreeing with the possibility that Joe Rogan went through his entire backlog and removed some of the episodes he didn’t like, he could have done that when it was on YouTube.
This is the thing, even though Joe Rogan said he would retain control and the podcast wouldn’t change, he is beholden to Spotify’s content policies and they own him now they’ve given him such a large chunk of cash. Unless he has a contract with terms that state he can do whatever he wants, he can’t.
Interestingly, in this news story, Joe Rogan states it is just a licencing deal and he retains full creative control over the show.
It’s just a licensing deal, so Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show. They want me to just continue doing it the way I’m doing it right now.
It will be interesting to see if Joe sees out his contract with Spotify — because I get the feeling if Spotify is the one already censoring episodes, eventually, Joe will want out unless it was always only about the money.