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Spotify is set to introduce an advisory on podcasts that mention COVID-19 amid a major backlash.
The streaming giant has been in the headlines for continuing to host podcasts accused of spreading misinformation about coronavirus.
As a result, musicians including Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and E Street Band member Nils Lofgren, have boycotted Spotify and requested their music is removed from the platform.
Now, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has revealed some updates rolling out on the service “in the coming days”, such as making the listener aware of any content that discusses the virus and sending them to a COVID-19 resource.
Ek insisted that “to enable the work of creators around the world to be heard and enjoyed by listeners around the world. To our very core, we believe that listening is everything.
“We have had rules in place for many years but admittedly, we haven’t been transparent around the policies that guide our content more broadly…this, in turn, led to questions around their application to serious issues including COVID-19.”
Spotify has “an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time.”
He added: “This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.
“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. We take this seriously and will continue to partner with experts and invest heavily in our platform functionality and product capabilities for the benefit of creators and listeners alike.”
Music legend Neil had his music removed from Spotify earlier this week.
In a request to the company, the 76-year-old singer said: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
Spotify later responded: “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”