While Spotify said that Friday’s blip was a technical error, it is not clear why the podcast disappeared for a second time yesterday.
For the second time in the space of a week, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast was found to be missing from streaming platform Spotify yesterday (21 February), according to multiple media reports.
It is back online at the time of writing this article.
On Friday (18 February), Spotify shares plunged 5pc after the controversial podcast was briefly inaccessible for the first time, Reuters reported.
A Spotify spokesperson told Rolling Stone on Friday that the blip was the result of “a technical issue affecting a number of our shows”. Other Spotify exclusive podcasts from The Ringer, Gimlet and Parcast were also down.
However, it is not clear why Joe Rogan’s podcast disappeared again yesterday. The Joe Rogan Experience signed an exclusive deal with Spotify in May 2020, which was reportedly worth $200m according to a recent New York Times report.
Rogan has been the subject of a divisive freedom of speech debate in recent weeks after some of his guests were accused of spreading Covid-19 misinformation on the show, which is Spotify’s most popular podcast.
In early January, more than 270 scientists and medical professionals called on Spotify to crack down on misinformation following an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience in which the podcaster spoke to virologist Robert Malone, whose credibility has been questioned for promoting anti-vaccine theories and comparing pandemic policies to the Holocaust.
Weeks later, Spotify responded with new podcast rules and a content advisory to be added to any show that discusses Covid-19. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said “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,” he added.
Around that time, leaked messages to Spotify staff seen by The Verge reportedly revealed that the company reviewed every episode of The Joe Rogan Experience and determined they didn’t “meet the threshold for removal”.
Earlier this month, Spotify forecasted a slow start to the year in terms of subscriber numbers, after which stocks tumbled 18pc.
Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.