Do you prefer your music playlists with a side of vaccine misinformation? Then late night host Stephen Colbert has a solution for you in light of Spotify’s new content warnings.
The Late Show aired an imagined Spotify ad touting a playlist containing “all your favorite songs strategically assembled in an order that results in harmful inaccuracies.” The ad suggests Spotify users are so obsessed with Covid inaccuracies spread by Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that they haven’t noticed the streaming service is “spreading misinformation with music.”
The gag playlist uses popular song titles from artists including Ed Sheeran, David Bowie, Adele and Migos to create a secret message reading, “I heard the shot changes the shape of you.” (It’s actually a pretty good collection of hits, to be honest.) The ad concludes with a title card that notes, “We hit shuffle on your understanding of basic facts.”
In a post on Spotify’s For the Record blog, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote that while “there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly… it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor.”
In the newly published Platform Rules, Spotify bars its contributors from “content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health.”
On Monday, Rogan said he wasn’t trying to “promote misinformation,” but defended his decision to book vaccine-skeptic guests like Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough by touting their credentials.
Last week, Neil Young became the first high-profile artist to demand his catalog be removed from Spotify. “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,” Young wrote. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Joni Mitchell joined Young in protest Friday night, with Crazy Horse and E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren also removing his music from the platform over the weekend.