Spotify to add content advisory to podcasts that discuss COVID-19

The move comes after singer-songwriters Neil Young and Joni Mitchell announced they are removing their music from Spotify.

A headset is seen in front of a screen projection of Spotify logo, in this picture illustration (photo credit: REUTERS)
A headset is seen in front of a screen projection of Spotify logo, in this picture illustration
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Spotify Technology SA will add a "content advisory" to any podcast episode that includes discussion about COVID-19, CEO Daniel Ek said, after coming under fire from rock and folk legends for giving voice to misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

"This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days," Ek wrote in a blog post published Sunday. "To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform."

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan also expressed their concern to Spotify about COVID-19 misinformation on its platform and are committed to continuing to work with the company, a spokesperson for their Archewell foundation said on Sunday.

The advisory will direct listeners to a COVID-19 hub that contains facts and information from medical and health experts, as well as links to trusted sources.

The move comes after singer-songwriters Neil Young and Joni Mitchell announced they are removing their music from Spotify in protest that the popular streaming service has allowed the airing of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

 Prepping the vaccine at a Health Ministry center in Jerusalem's Malcha Mall (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Prepping the vaccine at a Health Ministry center in Jerusalem's Malcha Mall (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Young objected to his music being played on the same platform as Joe Rogan's top-rated podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience." A prominent vaccine skeptic, Rogan has stirred controversy with his views on the pandemic, government mandates and vaccines to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier this month, 270 scientists and medical professionals signed a letter urging Spotify to take action against Rogan, accusing him of spreading falsehoods on the podcast.

In a tweet on Saturday best-selling author Brene Brown -- host of the Spotify-exclusive podcasts "Unlocking Us" and "Dare to Lead" -- said she would "not be releasing any podcasts until further notice."

Brown could not immediately be reached for comment.

Spotify is also publishing platform rules for its creators, according to Ek's post.

"We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users," he wrote. "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."