Mixing Music and Politics

You pay for this but they give you that.

Earlier this week, the rock star Neil Young demanded that Spotify remove his catalog from their streaming service because they were giving a platform to COVID misinformation in the form of the Joe Rogan podcast. They soon complied. Now, Young’s contemporary, Joni Mitchell, is following suit.

I’m honestly not sure what to make of it. On the one hand, Young and Mitchell are on the right side of the issue. Rogan is incredibly influential with his audience of millions and is in fact spreading dangerous ideas. On the other, I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear. Google, which owns YouTube, is selectively banning episodes of Rogan’s podcast.

Beyond that, do we really want to segregate our music on the basis of politics? If you want to listen to Rogan you also have to listen to Kid Rock but not Neil Young? That seems bizarre.

I’ve got access to multiple services, paying for YouTube and Amazon Prime while my wife has a Spotify account. So, I can listen to all the Neil Young and Joni Mitchell I want. But most people aren’t going to subscribe to multiple services to deal with the political preferences of performers.

The business side of this is even weirder in that Young doesn’t actually control the streaming rights to his own songs; he has assigned those to his record label. That’s true of all but a handful of artists. Presumably, Spotify didn’t want to engage in a public fight with a 76-year-old legend over decades-old songs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    One aspect of this story that has been pointed out is that Spotify has such a lousy royalty structure that it ironically makes it easier for the artists to take a moral stand because they’re not even walking away from that much money

    16
  2. Michael Cain says:

    On the other, I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear.

    There have been some lively comment threads about US copyright policy on this very site in the last several weeks. Congress has seen fit to grant copyright holders near absolute control for very long periods of time. (And to paraphrase comments I’ve made in those threads, if copyright holders were given the same protection period that patent holders are, most of Young and Mitchell’s catalogs would be in the public domain now.)

    3
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the other, I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear.

    First off, Neither Neil Young nor Joni Mitchell are saying nobody can listen to Joe Rogan, they just don’t want their music associated with him. They (not delving into who controls the streaming rights) have the right to disassociate themselves from him. It’s called freedom of speech. The same goes for Spotify. Joe Rogan does not have a constitutional right to the Spotify megaphone.

    Joe Rogan can say any damned thing he wants and if Spotify decides he ever goes too far and cancels their contract, they won’t be shutting him up or denying people the ability to listen to what he has to say. He can still say it and if people want they can still listen. The freedom of speech does not come with a freedom from consequences and it doesn’t mean listeners get to hear anything they want, any time they want, with the least inconvenience possible to them.

    If the day ever comes when Joe can’t sell a multi million $ podcast, he’ll still be able to repeat whatever lies he wants in a city park, where those who want can travel how ever many miles they think it’s worth to see him. He can even put out a tip jar.

    As far as

    Beyond that, do we really want to segregate our music on the basis of politics? If you want to listen to Rogan you also have to listen to Kid Rock but not Neil Young? That seems bizarre.

    Welcome to 21st century America, James. It might at first blush feel bizarre but if you take a look at the bizarre stances the GOP are taking (anti vax, anti mask, pro climate change, pro torture, anti democracy, pro… you get the idea), it feels downright rational to want as much distance as people can put between themselves and the GOP.

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  4. charon says:

    I’m honestly not sure what to make of it. On the one hand, Young and Mitchell are on the right side of the issue. Rogan is incredibly influential with his audience of millions and is in fact spreading dangerous ideas. On the other, I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear. Google, which owns YouTube, is selectively banning episodes of Rogan’s podcast.

    Why is this a politics issue and not just only a public health issue?

    It would not even be a politics issue if Fox, GOP pols etc. had not decided promoted a pandemic could hurt incumbent Democrats.

    11
  5. MarkedMan says:

    I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear.

    But Joe Rogan is not simply an artist earning streaming royalties. They specifically recruited him and paid him $100M for his show. Giant corporations, whether record companies, movie studies or TV stations decide who they give a platform to. It’s what they do.

    9
  6. Not the IT Dept. says:

    “Beyond that, do we really want to segregate our music on the basis of politics?”

    James, this has been happening for decades. What might be different is this time it’s the artists themselves who are removing their music from one – ONE! – site and in effect getting up and leaving the room. So what?

    And besides, I take great delight in this: https://variety.com/2022/digital/news/spotify-2-billion-market-cap-neil-young-joe-rogan-1235166798/

    So I suggest we’re approaching the time of the ultimate throw-down: everyone who values Joe Rogan, stand over there. Everyone who values decency and pretty good music, stand over there. And then we’ll see who has the bigger crowd – I suspect the Roganites won’t like the answer.

    7
  7. Scott F. says:

    What @OzarkHillbilly says!

    Beyond that, do we really want to segregate our music on the basis of politics? If you want to listen to Rogan you also have to listen to Kid Rock but not Neil Young? That seems bizarre.

    Have you listened to these particular artists lyrics, James? They take politic stands in their music all the time and people listen to them because of that.

    But, in the Spotify case, it’s not about segregation and it’s not politics, either. I’m playing Young and Mitchell on rotation today, because they are taking a stand against profiting from liars. That’s what artists do – seeking truth – and they’ve been doing so since Aeschylus.

    7
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: have the right to disassociate themselves from him. It’s called freedom of speech.

    Edit rephrasing fail, should be “freedom of association”.

    My kingdom for an edit function.

    3
  9. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Aside from a handful of prominent artists, it’s the labels who own the rights to distribute. Warner apparently backed Young’s play here, whether for PR reasons or some unspecified other.

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sure, there’s freedom of association. But being on the same streaming network is hardly an association. Nobody thinks Neil Young shares the same politics as Joe Rogan. My preference in these matters is simply that companies pay the ASCAP/BMI licensing fees and host the artists they bought the rights to.

    @charon: We’re seeing pretty much the same breakdowns across the developed world. As much as Trump and company politicized the issue here, it’s political pretty much everywhere.

    @Scott F.: I listen to artists—including Young—whose politics I don’t much care for all the time. He’s frankly something of a weirdo but I appreciate a lot of his art.

    2
  10. Mimai says:

    This strikes me as a Kevin Bacon issue. At the scale we’re talking about, it seems impossible to clearly separate oneself (as an artist) from that which is deemed objectionable. Similarly for consumers. It’s an integrated ecosystem.

    That said, draw lines in the sand where you please.

    1
  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Scott F.:

    Have you listened to these particular artists lyrics, James? They take politic stands in their music all the time and people listen to them because of that.

    There’s an entire genre of essays by conservatives who listen to musicians with explicitly left wing lyrics and then acting surprised when they find out they take left wing political positions.

    8
  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    Aside from a handful of prominent artists, it’s the labels who own the rights to distribute. Warner apparently backed Young’s play here, whether for PR reasons or some unspecified other.

    Which has nothing to do with my point about Spotify’s royalties. If a particular artist get streamed a million times over the course of the year, the total payment from Spotify is $2380 at the current 2022 rate.

    Whether that $2380 goes to the artist or the label, that’s not an amount either is going to be losing sleep over.

    2
  13. drj says:

    Beyond that, do we really want to segregate our music on the basis of politics?

    This is understating the case quite a bit.

    Rogan is responsible for people getting killed.

    In the words of Will Munny:

    It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.

    This isn’t exactly a dispute about the correct top marginal tax rate.

    The GOP has made killing Americans somehow respectable, I guess. Which means we shouldn’t object too much. Because that would hurt people’s precious fee-fees.

    8
  14. gVOR08 says:

    So yet another in an endless stream of similar examples of free speech. Joe Rogan gets to say any assholey thing he wants. But Young and Mitchell shouldn’t get to call Rogan an asshole.* Libertarians seem to believe not only that an individual should be able to do or say whatever he wants, but that somehow the rest of us are obligated to protect said individual from any consequences. Seems a funny idea of freedom to me.

    *One might respond that Young and Mitchell can call Rogan an asshat, but that’s different from removing their music from the service. But the one in question believes political contributions are speech.

    5
  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @drj:

    Seen elsewhere:

    Joe Rogan is like some barbarian Kahn from the steppes that took an interest in intellectual things and his show is basically him bringing slightly nervous scholars and magicians to come before him and explain how the world works “glasses man, you explain to Joe why sky big and how tree grow” but he will also believe anything you tell him, and only recently (in the past few years) does he clap back like “Tiny hat man say otherwise, do you lie to Joe? Tiny hat man say fat not bad for you, that sugar is enemy, so which is truth? Joe thinks you are wrong” and people just nervously go “oh-oh ok h-Haha yah I guess so”

    “Joe spend many moons on horseback and training with bow and sword, but Joe also wonder why skyfire rise from mountains every morning, you will explain this to Joe.”

    8
  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    You said:

    On the other, I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear. Google, which owns YouTube, is selectively banning episodes of Rogan’s podcast.

    This is what happens. Google is far from the only player here. Have you heard of Sinclair Media? Fox News Network?

    Music has always been political. Ask Woody Guthrie about that, or all those folks who sang or whistled “Yankee Doodle”.

    And Young and Mitchell have always been political with their music. For instance, the song “Ohio” written and performed by Young (and Crosby, Stills and Nash), and the song “Woodstock” written by Mitchell, performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

    I doubt their move will have much impact. It might have an effect on me, except I don’t use Spotify.

    6
  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    The best tale I have about music and politics has to do with Rage Against The Machine. Apparently on Twitter someone said of them, “I love your music but I wish you weren’t so political.” To which Tom Morello replied “If you can find any songs in our catalog that aren’t political, please let us know, so we can get rid of them.”

    The band’s name is Rage Against The Machine, after all.

    8
  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    There was an interview where then speaker of the house Paul Ryan said Rage Against the Machine was one of his favorite bands, which led to a lot of jokes wondering if he thought there was some literal machine that the band was raging against.

    1
  19. charon says:

    @James Joyner:

    As much as Trump and company politicized the issue here, it’s political pretty much everywhere.

    The right is an affinity group, they influence each other.

    2
  20. senyordave says:

    What’s the big deal here? There is no governmental involvement. I never saw the big issue with “canceling”. If an artist goes on a major racist rant (or other types of bigoted actions), the “cancelling” is just another form of consequences. It’s all a matter of degree in terms of what people decide should be canceled. If speech or other activity is bad enough I am all for people facing consequences, including economic consequences. My last job before I retired I used to work for Nielsen. If I stood outside the corporate offices with a sandwich board sign that said “Nielsen sucks” I would have been fired.
    Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are taking what I think are principled stands against a person who is knowingly disseminating dangerously incorrect medical information.

    6
  21. charon says:

    It’s not all just politics either, there are people making money from it.

    Example, supplement peddlers like Dr. Mercola, Joe Rogan, others.

    2
  22. de stijl says:

    Whoever owns the rights decides.

    If Mitchell and Young own the rights they can choose to disassociate from Spotify and Joe Rogan if they choose to.

    I would too if I were them. Rogan is a cancer irt Covid. Reckless and certain. And makes Spotify a crop ton of money spouting nonsensical things that are making our lives worse and harder.

    Good for them. More people should do this.

    3
  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    It is hard to imagine music that is devoid of politics and social commentary. Ever really listen to the blues, or the Celtic, Anglo Saxon ballads that became the root of the folk music of the the states along the Appalachian mountains from Georgia to the Canadian Maritime? Opera, Tin Pan Alley, you name it are all invested with social commentary that is sometime veiled but there.

    3
  24. James Joyner says:

    @Scott F.: @Sleeping Dog: @Stormy Dragon: @Jay L Gischer: To be clear, I’m not surprised that artists have political views. I just think it problematic if we’re going to have to segregate politically. Streaming is how people get their music now.

    2
  25. @Not the IT Dept.: Given market behavior recently, it is almost certainly impossible to attribute Spotify’s stock price to Neil Young’s actions.

    Full disclosure: I am a Spotify Premium subscriber and have been for years. I have never listened to Joe Rogan on the platform, and have probably occasionally listened to Young on it.

    While I would prefer that Rogan was not a thing, I cannot figure out a world in which I can choose media consumption based on the purity of associations and deals.

    I guess that is why monks and the like go into seclusion.

    3
  26. @James Joyner:

    I just think it problematic if we’re going to have to segregate politically.

    Agreed. It is both impractical and, perhaps worse, would help deepen our polarization.

    The more we retreat into our own spaces and flee shared ones, the worse these problems will become.

    2
  27. @de stijl: I will say this: Young and Mitchell are using their celebrity to get their views out on Rogan and Covid misinformation, and good on them and it is their right to do so.

    7
  28. de stijl says:

    @James Joyner:

    Streaming is how we get music now, but rights owners decide if and how to sell the rights. A Spotify sub does not give you every song ever written. It is a service. A contract at the pointy end of a series of contracts.

    If an artist (or the rights owner) decides not to share / continue to sell the rights, they can*. For whatever reason*.

    If Mitchell and Young want to disassociate from Spotify because of Rogan, they can*.

    And more power to ’em, I say. Rogan is an asshole I would not want to be associated with. If Spotify dies because of a rash of rights owners abandonment, another service would gladly host them sans Rogan’s anti-vaxx bullshit. Spotify is making big money off Rogan’s bullshit.

    Actions. Consequences.

    *legal / contractual shit applies

    2
  29. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The problem is that Spotify is not treating Young and Rogan neutrally. It’s paying Young a pittance while funneling tens of millions of dollars to Rogan.

    9
  30. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Joyner: You know, I completely long for a “one-stop shop” for film. I’m not going to get it. Not just because of politics, per se, but also because outfits like Disney will decide “why give someone else a cut?”

    The only reason music is currently something close to a one-stop shop is because there’s so little money in it at the moment.

    Let us not forget that there are definitely things that I, an aficionado, cannot find on Spotify. Also, I don’t want my access to music I like controlled by a third party. So I stay away from streaming services.

    1
  31. de stijl says:

    If Twitter or Facebook do not want to host Trump, for example, it is their right. Biden, whoever. It is their platform and they get to make the rules. If you disobey TOS rules you can get booted. It’s in the contract.

    Social media platforms are not publicly owned. No one has the right to access.

    And if you get booted for TOS violations that is not capital C censorship or 1st Amendment no-go, ffs. Words have meaning.

    I thought US rightwingers liked corporate rights.

    3
  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There are alternatives to Spotify. And, again, Rogan is not merely one amongst the million artists on Spotify. They recruited him, paying him far, far more than he would make if he was just another podcast. And they promote him.

    4
  33. Gustopher says:

    Neil Young is a polio survivor, from way back before there were vaccines, and that may well be part of his motivation. Rogan has a lot of stupid shit on — global warming deniers, flat taxers, Jordan Peterson, etc. — but it’s the covid misinformation that Young specifically takes issue with.

    I’ve been very uneasy with Spotify for a while because of Rogan. On the one hand, making him exclusive cuts his reach a bit, but on the other hand, some of my subscription fees are going to support Rogan. And, my idiot brothers are parroting things that appear on Rogan. And Spotify isn’t going to be dropping the covid misinformation episodes after they paid $100M.

    So, this was the kick in the pants I needed to leave Spotify.

    I remain baffled that Joe Rogan is in any way influential. I had lost track of him after Newsradio, basically forgot he existed, was amused to see a sign at a sensory-deprivation/flotation-tank place with Joe Rogan endorsing floating (laughing at the completely random minor celebrity), and then this. And he’s still in character.

    Utterly surreal.

    Let’s put Stephen Root on the Federal Reserve Board in character as Jimmy James while we’re at it, or at least get him to run in a Presidential primary (to meet a woman).

    I’m still sad Phil Hartman was killed.

    But Joe Fucking Rogan? We live in the stupidest timeline.

    Beyond that, do we really want to segregate our music on the basis of politics? If you want to listen to Rogan you also have to listen to Kid Rock but not Neil Young? That seems bizarre.

    No one is forcing anyone to listen to Kid Rock. That would be a violation of the constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

    3
  34. JKB says:

    Rogan is a revenue generator that brings in customers.

    Young and Mitchell are peanuts put out on the bar. If they change to pretzels because the peanuts become too much trouble few will notice and even fewer will care.

    I will be so glad when this last hurrah of the Woodstock generation (and that’s mostly pre-Boomers) as anyone born after 1950 would have been under 18 when Woodstock happened, is over as they die off.

  35. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    I just think it problematic if we’re going to have to segregate politically.

    This is how abusers talk. Make the shared space unendurable for one party and then blame them for not wanting to continue to occupy it.

    7
  36. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I haven’t logged on to Spotify in years. Do they force subscribers to listen to Rogan’s podcast? None of the various services I subscribe to do that.

    There’s all manner of awful stuff out there in podcasts, movies, music, books, etc. I’m sure there’s plenty I find repugnant on every single platform I subscribe to. I just don’t consume it.

    2
  37. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Young and Mitchell are peanuts put out on the bar. If they change to pretzels because the peanuts become too much trouble few will notice and even fewer will care.

    The cancelation pipeline on Spotify’s website has been experiencing outages because of the volume of cancellations. So, far more cancellations than normal.

    7
  38. EddieInCA says:

    James –

    You’re flat out wrong on this. Spotify is on the wrong end of a 70-30 split on the actual facts.

    Apple and Amazon are going to hoover up the Spotify outcasts, and they’ll be better for it. Rogan is a douche. I know it first hand. He’s also not very smart – as in long term thinking.

    Someone at Spotify should lose their job over this. They’ve lost more than 30% of their stock price since the start of the year (1 month) which has led to a market cap loss of over $14 BILLION since the start of the year.

    The market is telling Spotify they’re on the wrong side. But they’re doubling down. Expect more artists to follow suit, and expect the short sellers to continue putting pressure on Spotify Lastly, Spotify was expected to finally become profitable in 2022. This current drama will not help with this.

    This is a public health issue, James. I applaud Young and Mitchell.

    11
  39. @Stormy Dragon:

    The problem is that Spotify is not treating Young and Rogan neutrally. It’s paying Young a pittance while funneling tens of millions of dollars to Rogan.

    I am in no way suggesting they are treating them equally. Rogan makes them a hell of a lot more money than does Young or Mitchell. That they aren’t treated equally is hardly a surprise. This is just true, regardless of what else one thinks of the situation.

    I do not expect Spotify to treat the rights owner of the Beatles the same way they treat Jane Lui. It just ain’t gonna happen.

    3
  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    So if Spotify was paying Abu al-Qurashi $100 million for rights to broadcast the ISIS podcast, you’d be fine with that as long as no one is forced to listen to it? Whould you be rabbling about how problematic people who cancelled their service in response are since they’re just creating political segregation?

    6
  41. @EddieInCA:

    Apple and Amazon are going to hoover up the Spotify outcasts, and they’ll be better for it. Rogan is a douche. I know it first hand. He’s also not very smart – as in long term thinking.

    There is zero doubt Rogan is a negative influence.

    And look, I am actually, as I type, trying the Apple Music trial that came with my Apple Watch, so we’ll see.

    Still, let’s say I migrate to Apple Music–what about worker’s conditions in China? Granted, I am typing on an iMac, listening to Apple Music via AirPods on iPhone, so in for a penny, in for a pound I guess.

    I could go to Amazon, but what about working conditions and the general problems with Jeff Bezos?

    I just find it rather difficult to find some morally unambiguous choice.

    4
  42. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I do not expect Spotify to treat the rights owner of the Beatles the same way they treat Jane Lui. It just ain’t gonna happen.

    So in your mind, Joe Rogan is analogous to The Beatles and Neil Young to Jane Lui…

    1
  43. @EddieInCA: Also: as I said above, it is way too early to attribute Spotify’s stock price problem to Neil Young/Joe Rogan. The market has been on a bit of a roller coaster of late and streaming services, in general, have not exactly been bastions of stability over the long haul in any event–so I think the jury is out on that one.

  44. James Joyner says:

    @EddieInCA: As noted in the post, I agree with Young and Mitchell on the merits and think Rogan is spreading nonsense. But, assuming record labels actually let them, I don’t want artists dictating what podcasts I can listen to. It’s just a bad idea.

    The stories I’ve seen on the Spotify devaluation make it seem like it’s about projections, not Rogan. Netflix is having similar issues. These services are essentially commodities and are trying to distinguish themselves with original content and it’s hard to make that up because consumers have gotten accustomed to free or near-free music.

    1
  45. Mimai says:
  46. Lounsbury says:

    On the other, I’m uncomfortable with giant corporations—let alone individual musicians—deciding which ideas the public is allowed to hear.

    You seem to have then a weak grasp of the business model of publishers (music, newspapers books, or otherwise), in a private market.

    Should you desire to have a non-corporate mode of publication, you shall need an entity like the BBC. But then I suspet you would have an entirely logically discomfort with that.

    3
  47. @Stormy Dragon:

    So in your mind, Joe Rogan is analogous to The Beatles and Neil Young to Jane Lui…

    Sigh. I will assume that I was not being clear, but I will say that your response seems to fit into a common pattern with you wherein you go on the attack and project the worse on people with whom you are interacting. I suppose that is useful if one is just trying to score points. It is less useful for productive dialog.

    My point was this: as a matter of pure empirical observation, it is expected behavior for a for-profit enterprise to treat persons and products that make money differently from those that do not.

    Joe Rogan makes Spotify a lot more money than does Neil Young. Hence, that they do not treat them the same should surprise no one.

    One presumes Spotify makes a decent amount of money off of the Beatles’ catalog, but not much of Jane Liu (I do recommend her music, FWIW). As such, I expect that the folks who control the Beatles’ catalog made noise about something, they could exhibit more influence than Jane could.

    There is no reason to read more into my observation than that.

    Indeed, none of it assumes a moral equivalence between the Beatles and Joe Rogan, but surely that should have been obvious from the get-go.

    5
  48. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    Music rights are fungible. Spotify could easily become another Napster if creators and consumers bail. Big boy today, gone next year.

    Kazaa. I once showed up at a gig and they gave me a laptop of a previous employee. Took me a hot ten minutes before I figured out dude had downloaded Kazaa front-end to his work computer. I called up their IT folks and said I needed a fresh image. Kazaa was sticky as shit. Dug in deep. A full wipe and reinstall.

    They just gave me a new laptop. Easier. Probably cheaper all things considered. God only knows what they did with the first one.

    Where were the cybersecurity folks?

    2
  49. James Joyner says:

    @Lounsbury: As a general rule, podcasts are released into the ether and are available on any platform one wishes to utilize. Rogan’s is different, in that it’s proprietary and a loss leader to drive subscriptions to a single service. Still, it’s just one piece of content among a near endless supply of offerings there.

    3
  50. @Steven L. Taylor: TL;DR version: Spotify (or any platfrom) will trerat different content providers differently because of money.

    This is true whether we like it or not.

  51. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mimai:

    I’m trying to see if this “as long as you’re not forced to watch it, it should be no concern of yours” position is an absolute position or if there’s a line somewhere between Joe Rogan and the worst thing I could think of off the top of my head where that changes.

    1
  52. EddieInCA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    While I would prefer that Rogan was not a thing, I cannot figure out a world in which I can choose media consumption based on the purity of associations and deals.

    I absolutely can. I don’t eat at Chick-fil-A, despite how amazing their chicken is. I don’t buy Nike’s, despite loving their shoes. I don’t shop at Home Depot, despite them being closer for my needs than Lowe’s. I don’t shop at Hobby Lobby, despite them being more likely to have what I need than Michael’s or Joann’s. I won’t shop at Walmart, despite their prices. I’ll pay more to go to Target.

    Why would a music stream service be different*.

    *Full disclosure. I don’t stream. My wife and I have a 4TB hard drive that has 3.6 terabytes of music on it. We continually buy music and add to our Hard Drive, then transfer specific playlists to phones, smaller flash drives, MP3 players, Ipads, and Laptops. That drive started out as a 200mb hard drive 13 years ago, and is now 3.6TB. It’s backed up on a seperate 4TB drive, and on a third drive (8TB). We’re paranoid about our drive crashing and losing all our music.

    6
  53. de stijl says:

    In my sphere, I purposefully do not play Activision or Ubisoft games. Hard rule. Won’t. Ever.

    I don’t tell anyone else not to play those games from those folks. Not my business. Do. Do not. Up to you.

    A loose rabble deciding to bail on a company can have a huge impact. The gaming industry is rife with juicy examples.

    I am not a proselytizer. Just one cog saying “No!”

  54. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Ethical consuming is one of our few powers.

    3
  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    Dave Grohl just joined the movement, which make it interesting. Grohl is universally liked. He’s the Keanu Reeves of rock, a guy who doesn’t need to be a sweetheart, but is. His example will carry weight. If someone like, say, Taylor Swift, joins in, it will signal real trouble for Spotify.

    4
  56. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Same could be said about assuming my objection to the analogy was moral, rather than the financial ridiculous of comparing one of the best selling artists of all time to a niche indie artist while comparing a guy who has been popular for a couple years to a historically prominent group like The Beatles in terms of long term profitability.

    1
  57. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:
    @Steven L. Taylor:
    @James Joyner:

    Spotify could easily become another Napster if creators and consumers bail.

    My point exactly. Spotify isn’t profitable. Hasn’t been. It’s valuation is purely based on forward looking numbers. If they’re on the wrong side of a 70-30 issue, they’re not going to make it. Simple as that. #cancelspotify was trending Thursday and Friday, and today as well. Their servers are overloaded from cancellations. Short sellers* on Wall Street are going to make a fortune on this stock in the next few weeks.

    They made a huge mistake. Their brand is now associated with divisiveness and misinformation, whether they like it or not. If they don’t get ahead of it right away, the negative inertia will continue to build.

    *Full Disclosure – I’m sort Spotify stock and have been since the day Neil Young made his announcement. The 10% drop in the stock price on Wednesday was a good day for my IRA. I’ll cover on the next leg down after the dead cat bounce, which will happen one day this week.

    1
  58. Stormy Dragon says:

    I will say one thing that does indeed make me go on attack, because I’ve had it with this particular line of logic:

    I’m a DONE with conservatives deliberately destroying community for their own personal benefit and then trying to shame me because I’m not doing enough to keep the community from splintering because of their damage. It’s literally domestic abuse tactics being added into society at large and I’m through with coddling co-dependent moderates who want to blame the victims because they’re making what’s actually going on too visible and the moderates would rather stay in denial.

    If that’s a problem, then you should probably ban me.

    4
  59. Jay L Gischer says:

    I find it a bit odd that you should describe the artists in question as “dictating” something. They are making it harder for you to enjoy their music, and that’s something that they have every right to do, I would think.

    And the purpose of protest is to draw attention to something, and as a protest, I would say this has been quite successful.

    5
  60. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My understanding is TS isn’t on Spotify due to royalty issues.

  61. @EddieInCA:

    I absolutely can. I don’t eat at Chick-fil-A, despite how amazing their chicken is. I don’t buy Nike’s, despite loving their shoes. I don’t shop at Home Depot, despite them being closer for my needs than Lowe’s. I don’t shop at Hobby Lobby, despite them being more likely to have what I need than Michael’s or Joann’s. I won’t shop at Walmart, despite their prices. I’ll pay more to go to Target.

    All of this assumes that the alternatives are, in fact, morally superior. Perhaps they are, but I have my doubts.

    Still, none of that addresses my point about Apple Music, Amazon Music, or YouTube (which as a platform has certainly done more harm than Joe Rogan has).

    I am not being snarky when I say that the only way to be thorough pure in terms of these things is to become a monk/hermit.

    4
  62. @Sleeping Dog:

    My understanding is TS isn’t on Spotify due to royalty issues.

    I think that was true at one point, but no longer is.

  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m through with coddling co-dependent moderates who want to blame the victims because they’re making what’s actually going on too visible and the moderates would rather stay in denial.

    Well, aren’t you just a hero of the revolution?

    I’m sick of progressives who care only about displaying their virtue, like modern day Pharisees, and are indifferent to the political effects and indifferent to the consequences for real people. 8% of Americans identify as progressives. Fewer than one in ten. The progressive moment is past and progressives have no one to blame but themselves. Not that they will, because gosh darn it, they’re just ever so right about everything, always.

    We boring regular Democrats are trying to save the fucking country and we have to drag you people around with us, entitled children outraged that they didn’t get a pony.

    5
  64. @Stormy Dragon:

    Same could be said about assuming my objection to the analogy was moral, rather than the financial ridiculous of comparing one of the best selling artists of all time to a niche indie artist while comparing a guy who has been popular for a couple years to a historically prominent group like The Beatles in terms of long term profitability.

    And therefore?

    4
  65. Sleeping Dog says:

    @EddieInCA:

    A problem that Spotify has and has yet to address is that their competitors have HD (CD quality) streaming options, while Spottily struggles on with modest bit-rates. Spotify hinted at an HD offering for 2021 and never delivered and have stopped talking about it.

    Amazon has an HD offering (that my brother raves about) that is $10-12/month and Apple has just launched an HD service. Why be on Spotify?

  66. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We boring regular Democrats are trying to save the fucking country and we have to drag you people around with us, entitled children outraged that they didn’t get a pony.

    In this case, Dr. Joyner is the person who wants the pony, since we apparently now have a positive duty to continue to subscribing to Spotify or we’re “problematic” political segregationists.

    3
  67. To be clear: I am not trying to defend Spotify’s honor and am fairly sure that at some point in the future (maybe sooner rather than later) it will be replaced in some way. If this Joe Rogan thing blows up in its face, so be it.

    My fundamental point is that it is impossible, in my view, without some really extreme choices, to truly consume in a way that guarantees the purity being inferred above.

    Sure, Rogan has an exclusive deal with Spotify, but how many of the folks on this thread never use YouTube? YouTube, as a platform, has almost spread substantial white supremacy and anti-vax messages.

    And again: whether one shops at Target or WalMart, one is almost certainly sending money to support labor practices in China.

    The list goes on, does it not?

    3
  68. @Stormy Dragon:

    In this case, Dr. Joyner is the person who wants the pony, since we apparently now have a positive duty to continue to subscribing to Spotify or we’re “problematic” political segregationists.

    Which is a gross mischaracterization of anything he said, or that anyone said.

    5
  69. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: But being on the same streaming network is hardly an association. Nobody thinks Neil Young shares the same politics as Joe Rogan.

    Well, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell obviously disagree, and seeing as it is their music they get to decide. Which tbh is just fine with me. If I want to listen to some NY or JM I’ll go find it wherever they put it up.

    No biggie.

    1
  70. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Dr. Joyner is the person who wants the pony, since we apparently now have a positive duty to continue to subscribing to Spotify or we’re “problematic” political segregationists.

    That’s a deliberately obtuse reading of the post. There is no duty to subscribe to Spotify; indeed, I don’t. There’s no duty to listen to, much less agree with Joe Rogan; indeed, I do neither. My objection so simply to the notion, being advanced by Young and Mitchell, that being on the same massive service as a single objectionable voice is untenable. It’s a bizarre and dangerous concept in a world of mass aggregation.

    6
  71. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Dave Grohl is a big get. Everybody likes and respects him. That’s a really big deal. With him, expect more. Grohl will move people. And younger people.

    Spotify may have shat the bed buying Rogan’s rights.

    I hope it happens. They made the world worse on purpose for money. Fuck em.

    Top five song of all time: The Best Of You by Foo Fighters

    1
  72. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I just find it rather difficult to find some morally unambiguous choice.

    It’s not possible, but people get to choose the moral compromises they are willing to make. It might sound silly to you, a lot of times it does sound silly to me. Such is life.

    1
  73. senyordave says:

    The more I think about it, what is the issue here? Joe Rogan has a podcast and is actively promoting dangerous theories which are easily disproven by science. If people listen to the advice his guests give, there will be some people who get sick, get hospitalized, and die who otherwise would not have. Period, end of sentence. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell don’t want to be associated with someone like Joe Rogan. Good for them. The government isn’t trying to censor or cancel Joe Rogan so what is the problem. From a utilitarian standpoint the best thing that could happen would be for Joe Rogan to get covid and die. At least then there wouldn’t be a podcast with millions of people listening to a bunch of misinformation about covid (and he wouldn’t have white guests like Jordan Peterson define who should be called black).
    Regarding political divisiveness? That ship sailed a long time ago, it is captained by Trump, with first mates McConnell and Gingrich, and the voyage is financed by Murdoch and Koch.

    7
  74. de stijl says:

    Up until the release of the infamous Mel Gibson audio, The Road Warrior was my favorite movie.

    After, thinking about it curdled my guts. I watched this movie at least 70 times. Now, we have Fury Road which is better in every aspect. Never again with Gibson bullshit.

    Will not watch his work anymore. Just won’t. Never. When I listened to that audio I almost did, I wanted to puke. That was evil.

    George Miller, bless his soul, gave us an even better movie in Fury Road.

    Can’t watch Gibson anymore. Cannot. Will not.

    1
  75. senyordave says:

    @James Joyner: But, assuming record labels actually let them, I don’t want artists dictating what podcasts I can listen to. It’s just a bad idea.
    Its just a matter of degree. If Joe Rogan had a few Nazis on his program the only question would be why hasn’t he been removed immediately. So far its just misinformation that could get people killed needlessly, so its no big deal.
    Nil Young and Joni Mitchell want Joe Rogan cancelled. Its not some government board, so what is the big issue?

  76. EddieInCA says:

    Rod Dreher has come out on the side of Rogan. Shocking…

    But, despite his usual caterwauling, he does get the big picture correct.

    Spotify can survive the loss of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, two past greats who have not been relevant to popular music for many years. But if this becomes a trend in showbiz, Spotify will be in trouble.

    I guarantee you it’s going to become a trend. Rogan doesn’t have many actual friends.

    8
  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: The last time I saw Joe Rogan was in Korea where I’d stumbled across some MMA pay-per-view (Korean sports networks get to show them for free for some reason) where he was doing color commentary. Before that, I’d seen him on the 30 seconds of Fear Factor that I’d watched to figure out what I’d channel surfed onto.

    1
  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: “Rogan is a revenue generator that brings in customers.”

    You DO realize what that says about American tastes, right?

    4
  79. @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s not possible, but people get to choose the moral compromises they are willing to make. It might sound silly to you, a lot of times it does sound silly to me. Such is life.

    To be clear: I respect everyone’s right to make these choices.

    I just find the notion that buying X from Y instead of from Z solves any of this to be radically simplistic, especially when dealing with platforms that contain huge amounts of content.

    Maybe buying a chicken sandwich from Popeye’s instead of Chick-Fil-A is some kind of win. But I am just not sure that it also isn’t a loss that the purchaser is unaware of.

    And there is simply no way that streaming from Apple or Amazon instead of Spotify produces a morally pure outcome.

    3
  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Or, you could stop ranting and doubling down because your point was already made in the first one or two posts.

    2
  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: When I want to hear some Joni Mitchell, I put a record on my phonograph. Never was big on Neil Young, tho. It’s probably just as well that I never miss hearing him.

    (I’ll slink back to the 2nd or 3rd world now…)

    1
  82. EddieInCA says:

    https://www.imore.com/spotify-overwhelmed-requests-cancel-following-joe-rogan-saga

    *Spotify appears to have been overwhelmed by cancellation requests.

    * Reports suggest Spotify has shut down its live customer support because of complaints and cancellation requests.

    *It all started earlier this week when artist Neil Young asked the platform to take down his music over Joe Rogan’s podcast and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

    *Spotify is no longer letting people cancel subscriptions. Their customer service system is completely overwhelmed. People asking to cancel are being told they cannot. Presumably Spotify will allow cancellations again at some point once their system is not so flooded

    This isn’t going to get better for Spotify.

    5
  83. @de stijl:

    Can’t watch Gibson anymore. Cannot. Will not.

    Understandable–and, to me, somewhat different.

    Like a lot of people, I cannot and will not watch Bill Cosby. But, as I just found out by searching, you can get Cosby on Spotify and on Amazon. So, while I will not be using those services to partake of Cosby, I am still going to use those services for other things.

    4
  84. senyordave says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I don’t expect to find morally pure outcomes. I do try to find the best moral outcomes when I think it matters. Since I know ways of getting any music for free that don’t involve any high tech gadgetry I don’t subscribe to any service, but if I had Spotify I would cancel over this issue and use another provider.

    3
  85. Sleeping Dog says:
  86. Andy says:

    I’m curious how many people here have actually listened to a Rogan podcast all the way through, much less the episodes in question.

    2
  87. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: sin fairness, most of us haven’t listened to an Alex Jones or OAN show either and have strong opinions on those, too.

    3
  88. Jax says:

    Nickelback is apparently threatening to release new music on Spotify unless Joe Rogan is removed, so that was my ROFLMAO moment for today. I have a love/hate relationship with Nickelback. 😛

    4
  89. EddieInCA says:

    @Jax:

    James Blunt (You’re Beautiful) threatened the same thing on Twitter.

    2
  90. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My fundamental point is that it is impossible, in my view, without some really extreme choices, to truly consume in a way that guarantees the purity being inferred above.

    But you can make choices to minimize the worst, or at least minimizing dealing with the people who will try to rub it in your face.

    Chik-Fil-A donates to hate groups, which to the best of my knowledge Popeye’s does not. (more accurately, Chik-Fil-A pays its founder, who donates… there’s a middle man). Both are probably pretty bad for chickens.

    Spotify pays for the privilege of hosting Joe Rogan’s covid misinformation. Apple hosts the Steve Bannon podcast but is not giving him $100M for exclusive access.

    Companies are going to do evil shit. Can’t do much about that. But I can stop supporting specific evil shit that I know about that is slightly worse than the average evil shit, where there is a convenient alternative.

    I also won’t go to any business that has Fox News playing on a tv in the background.

    In a way, I feel bad for Spotify, as they probably wanted to not get in the middle of any culture war issues — and the right wing has made public health a culture war issue. But, if you deal with scumbags, you have that risk.

    3
  91. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: I get the summaries from my brothers. I’m watching my brothers get stupider by the day.

    3
  92. Dude Kembro says:

    @Andy: We don’t need to read Mein Kampf and Constitution of the Confederate States of America all the way through to know the gist and be aware of various ways the Third Reich and the Confederacy sucked.

    I’ve watched and listened to enough clips of Rogan — and know enough about my friends that adore him — to know he’s the Patron Saint of Douchebags. And that he, sadly, is likely getting folks sick, injured, and maybe killed with truly bizarre COVID disinformation.

    To be fair: most of Rogan’s content I’ve watched/heard has been harmless. But that’s no absolution, Mussolini also made the trains run on time.

    1
  93. DK says:

    @Gustopher: Yeah the “purity” thing is a deflection. Suggesting that if one can’t be 100% pure 100% of the time, then one can’t take any ethical stand at all.

    It’s similar to the Trump voter deflection, “He’s not perfect, but…” But what? Nobody asked him to be perfect. We’d settle for him just being decent.

    No one expects any human being to be perfect and pure. That’s not the point. The point is try to make a positive difference, if and when we are able.

    3
  94. EddieInCA says:

    I’ve seen random internet trolls saying things like “Neil Young is going to regret this”.

    Neil Young has a net worth of more than $200 million dollars, or two Joe Rogans.

    3
  95. DK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It’s literally domestic abuse tactics being added into society at large and I’m through with coddling co-dependent moderates who want to blame the victims…

    Rev. Dr. King famously warned the “great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the White moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.”

    He rightly disliked the gaslighting you reference, where relatively mild inconveniences caused by the protestor are compared and contrasted with the monstrosities being protested. Even if you conclude the latter is worse, it’s a farce to engage in that comparison at all.

    And, yes, it is similar to the way an abusive significant other and his enablers will twist your refusal to tolerate and forgive abuse, to make you the problem (survivor here).

    Politicized COVID disinformation is causing death, injury, and serious disruptions. Rogan, proprietary to Spotify, is a superspreader of such disinfo. If some artists protest Spotify to highlight potential harm Rogan is doing, it’s maybe a bit glib to focus our concerns on how finding some music or podcasts might be made more difficult.

    3
  96. DK says:

    @de stijl: Spotify’s position is more tenuous than maybe some think. It was expected to be profitable for the first time this year. Spotify’s future depends on telling shareholders its subscriber base is still growing. That’s why it cannot afford to lose Rogan’s audience. But it is losing subscribers right now due to #CancelSpotify. Even if its only 2% down, any future earnings report showing negative subscriber numbers is bad for Spotify.

    And, there are big, current artists who have in the past either expressed hostility to Spotify or even pulled their music from it periodically over revenue disputes: Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Jay-Z, the estate of Aaliyah, etc. Swift once denouced Spotify as a “corporate machine” and wrote a WSJ piece ripping its business model.

    The threat to Spotify now is that many artists have never it and might see an opening for revenge (while getting some SJW cred with GenZ). Is Spotify going bye bye over this? No. But even a small artist protest can do a little financial damage.

  97. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: If it makes you feel any better, I have not ever listened to a Joe Rogan podcast, nor do I care about where he’s carried or even if he is. But I am also not a Spotify customer so I have no dog in this fight. I’m just a tourist here today.

  98. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I lost all my LPs to the divorce monster (and a lot else) It was a fair sized collection of good music, some of which had been out of print for a bit. Never replaced them.

    Funny story: The guy my ex sold them to? Was the ex-husband of a friend of mine. A really nice person. They got along well and when he learned of how they came to be in his possession, he wanted to return them to me. I had no way of enjoying them at that time and could not foresee a near future when I might, so I told him to keep and enjoy them for me.

    2
  99. Stormy Dragon says:

    @EddieInCA:

    *Spotify is no longer letting people cancel subscriptions. Their customer service system is completely overwhelmed. People asking to cancel are being told they cannot. Presumably Spotify will allow cancellations again at some point once their system is not so flooded

    How is this not wire fraud?

    1
  100. Barry says:

    @EddieInCA: “Rod Dreher has come out on the side of Rogan. Shocking…”

    A man who left the Catholic Church over corruption and wrote ‘The Benedict Option’ is now denouncing people for refusing to associate with an evil liar, responsible for a large number of deaths and the corrupt company which profits.

  101. @Gustopher:

    Chik-Fil-A donates to hate groups, which to the best of my knowledge Popeye’s does not. (more accurately, Chik-Fil-A pays its founder, who donates… there’s a middle man).

    But are the odds that someone of significance in the Popeye’s organization also contributes to groups you don’t like? What are the odds that any given company doesn’t have people making huge sums of money from the company, doesn’t also support ideas, and causes you don’t like?

    My point is that this is an impossible game to play if the goals really are what is claimed.

  102. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My point is that this is an impossible game to play if the goals really are what is claimed.

    It’s an impossible game to win, but you can lose less badly. Which is much like a win.

    Your point is nihilism.

    1
  103. @Gustopher:

    Your point is nihilism

    That seems a bit extreme but ok.

  104. @Andy:

    I’m curious how many people here have actually listened to a Rogan podcast all the way through, much less the episodes in question.

    I haven’t.

    Honest question: do you think my opinion of him and his show would change if I did?

  105. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: How does it differ from nihilism?

    Seriously, you don’t seem like a nihilist, but your point as expressed is basically that you cannot live a good, moral life with a strong implication that it’s pointless to try.

    What else does “this is an impossible game to play if the goals really are what is claimed” mean?

    Sometimes you pursue goals that you will never reach because even by trying you get closer.

    1
  106. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    Ok, so you haven’t. That you equate Rogan with Alex Jones and OAN just proves the point. You criticize Rogan without understanding what you’re criticizing.

    It’s no different from someone claiming you and OTB are (insert really uncharitable characterization here) having never read a full blog post.

    @Dude Kembro:

    We don’t need to read Mein Kampf and Constitution of the Confederate States of America all the way through to know the gist and be aware of various ways the Third Reich and the Confederacy sucked.

    So you’ve never watched an entire episode – got it.

    Yes, Joe Rogan is the same as Mein Kampf. Because you say so?

  107. Andy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    @Andy: If it makes you feel any better, I have not ever listened to a Joe Rogan podcast, nor do I care about where he’s carried or even if he is. But I am also not a Spotify customer so I have no dog in this fight. I’m just a tourist here today.

    It’s doesn’t make me feel anything except that I appreciate your honesty in actually answering the question.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I haven’t.

    Honest question: do you think my opinion of him and his show would change if I did?

    I’m not a mind-reader so who knows? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t.

    But that’s beside the point. There is a ton of criticism for Rogan here from people who haven’t bothered to do the most minimal due diligence. So where do these opinions of Rogan come from, since they don’t come from direct experience?

  108. Andy says:

    @Andy:

    Rogan does, I think about 3 shows a week that are 2 1/2 -3 hours each. His audience is, reportedly, roughly twice the size of all the cable “news” opinion shows combined, and a much younger demographic (cable news is for the olds, as my kids say). About half of his guests are comedians and professional/elite athletes. The rest are a very broad range of guests from Ted Nugent to Bernie Sanders to Elon Musk to Edward Snowden.

    At this point, I’ve listened to probably a few dozen of his podcasts – generally the guests that interest me most. And the great thing about Rogan which is also the infuriating thing about Rogan is that he doesn’t play the role of finger-waving fact-checker, which so many in the so-called MSM do. And this lack of finger-waving fact-checking is what pisses off the self-righteous very online people on Twitter who clip 30 seconds of a 2-hour podcast and then make grandiose declarations.

    Rogan is fundamentally different from, as one example, the Maddows and Hannity’s of the world, who peddle in slick, scripted, and well-planned manipulative misinformation. He’s the first person to tell you that no one should take medical advice from him and that he’s just a comedian giving his opinion. He doesn’t script his interviews and he’s non-confrontational with his guests.

    That lack of a script is is why I (and a lot of people) like the format. He asks questions no “journalist” would ask. His podcasts are more like two (or more) people shooting the shit over a beer (actually, it’s often pot) than anything else. And that unscripted style produces some awesome moments and it also produces some facepalm moments – because it’s unscripted. People not engaging in prepared talking points. You can’t sit down with Rogan for three hours and repeat talking points which is why most politicians would never go on his now. They want a script.

    What Rogan’s detractors do (usually on the left these days) is blow up those facepalm moments and assert that is the norm for him or criticize him for “platforming” some untouchable. It’s the usual dishonest BS from the very online crowd – who complain constantly about “misinformation” but are likely the same people that watch Maddow or Hannity every night. And that’s how you get stupid comparisons to Mein Kampf and Alex Jones from people who have never actually watched a single episode.

    I think back to the podcast with Bernie Sanders – I learned more about Bernie from that podcast than any of the stupid inanity from the usual TV suspects and the sound-bite media establishment that – let’s face it – is the soup most of the highly-online swim in. Bernie had over two hours to make his case, explain what he wanted to do, and Rogan – refreshingly – ask some good questions without acting like the usual cable-news faux fact-checking asshole.

    It’s important to point out that there are no “sound bites” on Rogan’s podcast (or any of the other long-form podcasts out there).

    What it did for me was force me to reevaluate some of my criticisms of Bernie, which I realized were actually adopted from what other people said about him, and not my own evaluation of his actual views as he expressed them. That is something Rogan and his format do very well.

    Now, all that may make me sound like a Rogan fanboy – but I’m not. I find him infuriating at times. His hagiographic podcasts with and on Edward Snowden, for example, are particularly bad. But then he has one someone who isn’t a Snowden fanboy and they talk it out and it’s interesting and makes you think.

    That’s what attracts me personally to Rogan’s podcasts and I also actively seek out “challenging” opinions that I don’t agree with (like this comment section). I like it when people disagree with me or when I disagree with them. And I end up disagreeing with Rogan pretty frequently. But the ways in which I disagree with him are frequently surprising and I usually learn something new. That’s what real debate is supposed to be about.

    But the “band Rogan from Spotify” types aren’t interested in that – they want conformity. We have a bunch of very online latter-day Moral majority types who have the audacity to declare themselves the arbiters of “truth” and “misinformation” and promote and applaud various forms of “de-platforming” believing that the rubes are too stupid to hear “wrong” information and make up their own minds – so heterodoxy much be punished.

    I say fuck that bullshit.

    So I don’t have a problem with anyone criticizing Rogan or thinking he’s whatever bad things you want to think about him. But at least have the honesty and decency to really understand what you are criticizing instead of parroting some dumb take you read on Twitter.

    1
  109. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: To be clear, I don’t think Rogan is Alex Jones, much less Adolph Hitler. Bu the gives his huge platform to white supremacies and quacks and thereby legitimated them.

  110. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But are the odds that someone of significance in the Popeye’s organization also contributes to groups you don’t like? What are the odds that any given company doesn’t have people making huge sums of money from the company, doesn’t also support ideas, and causes you don’t like?

    I think the difference is that whoever that person is at Popeye’s isn’t giving interviews suggesting that’s a primary organizational goal of the company itself and using it to drive business to the company.

    1
  111. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    @Andy: To be clear, I don’t think Rogan is Alex Jones, much less Adolph Hitler. Bu the gives his huge platform to white supremacies and quacks and thereby legitimated them.

    Then why did you make the Alex Jones comparison?

    Secondly, since you haven’t, it seems, listened to a single podcast, I would question your claims about what Rogan is or isn’t legitimizing or your judgments about the nature and character of his content or him personally.

    It’s kind of like someone who has never seen an MCU movie declaring with authority that all MCU movies suck and furthermore that they promote white supremacy. Why should anyone give much credence to that opinion?

    Or someone who has never eaten at a restaurant declaring that the food and service are terrible?

    Look, I don’t care what you think of Rogan, but it’s really bizarre to see an academic with a Ph.D. makings definitive claims that sound like they are based on first-hand experience that don’t actually appear to be based on first-hand experience. If you are deferring to the opinions of others, then that’s fine, no one can validate everything, but at least admit that’s what you’re doing.

  112. EddieInCA says:

    @Andy:

    I know Joe Rogan. I’ve known Joe Rogan for the better part of 25 years. He’s a douchebag as a human being. He’s a walking internet comment board, with zero intellectual consistency. He dishes in bullshit that is easily disprovable.

    You said it. He has a massive audience. As such, he has a responsibility. Fvcking Aaron Rodgers called him for MEDICAL INFORMATION when he got Covid.

    Joe Rogan’s bullshit has caused people to die. His pushing of invectermin has caused people to die. His pushing of hydroxychloroquine has caused people to die That that doesn’t bother you says alot about you.

    Joe Rogan is a piece of shit. If I want to listen to a podcast, I’ll take Maron any day. J

    As to why compare him to Alex Jones? Well, maybe because he had Alex Jones on his podcast and agreed with him a whole bunch?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdVso9FSkmE

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  113. DK says:

    @Andy:

    It’s kind of like someone who has never seen an MCU movie declaring with authority that all MCU movies suck and furthermore that they promote white supremacy.

    It’s not like that at all: MCU movies aren’t getting people killed. The misinformation Joe Rogan is spreading is.

    Your insistence that one must have listened to every word that has ever come out of someone’s mouth to critique errors is childish nonsense. Unless one has watched a whole entire Trump rally, there’s no way to know Trump mocked a disabled reporter at one? That if one did not watch 100% of the available Jan 6 attack there’s absolutely know way to know about it? You’re just plain wrong and making a desperate argument that makes no sense.

    Joe Rogan is responsible for mass dissemination of deadly COVID misinformation. Are you unaware that JRE posts 5,10, 15 minute YouTube clips, where we can literally watch this happening?

    And no, one does not need to listen to Joe Rogan’s entire ouevre to know this. Clips and quotes will do. Just as one does not need to read Main Kampf in its entirety to know and criticize the damage it did. Excerpts will do.

    Rather than getting upset at accurate criticisms of Joe Rogan willful spreading of dangerous lies, maybe you should direct your misplaced anger towards the guy using his platform to promote death.

    No, Rogan is not Hitler. But he is causing death and destruction. It’s not my fault you don’t like to admit that because you enjoy listening to his podcast.

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