Spotify purges dozens of Joe Rogan podcast episodes

Comedian Joe Rogan hosts and produces an episode of his popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.” (Courtesy image; Graphic by The Desk)

Streaming service Spotify has quietly removed nearly four dozen episodes of the popular podcast “Joe Rogan Experience,” according to a report.

The industry blog Digital Music News first revealed the purge last week when it discovered around 40 episodes of the podcast were suddenly unavailable.

That number has since grown, with two additional episodes being removed from Spotify, Digital Music News reported.

The podcast, hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, became an exclusive to Spotify when the streaming audio company last year agreed to license the show for around $100 million. That deal became effective last September, forcing millions of people who streamed the popular conversation program to pay at least $10 a month for a Spotify subscription in order to continue listening.

The agreement came together as part of Spotify’s broader strategy to offer more on-demand audio content through its popular app, a shift away from the buffet-style music subscription service that made Spotify popular in the first place.

But the deal sparked tension within Spotify, with some employees expressing concerns that some of Rogan’s shows contained material that had not aged well in the era of mass social wokeness.

Specific episodes of concern centered around interviews with Abigail Shrier, an author who espoused anti-transgender views, and another show featuring Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist with his own popular radio program.

Both of those episodes remain available on Spotify, and some even have Spotify’s logo embedded in the program’s thumbnail image. But around four dozen episodes have gone missing in recent days, with no clear explanation as to why.

Paul Resnikoff, a writer with Digital Media News who first revealed the issue, speculated it may have something to do with appearances by Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee who “frequently backs anti-aging and scientific theories.” Some of those theories, Resnikoff wrote, contain unsubstantiated claims about Bulletproof Coffee, including the dubious testimonial that Asprey’s coffee product is healthier and safer than competing ones on the market.

Other episodes that disappeared from Spotify include conversations with celebrities Al Madrigal, Chris D’Elia, Felicia Michaels, Jos McDermitt, Brendon Walsh and Milo Yiannopoulos. Several episodes featuring conspiracy theorist David Seaman were also deleted from the feed.

Executives at Spotify have not released an explanation as to why the episodes were suddenly removed. Rogan, whose Twitter feed includes a recent posting about unidentified flying objects, also has not publicly commented on the matter.

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