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Spotify Has Officially Become The Battleground For Big Tech's Censorship Civil War

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 30, 2022 - 07:10 PM

Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance

Far be it for me to be sensationalist, but it looks like Spotify has become the official venue where the big tech censorship civil war is about to take place.

Or, perhaps where it has already started. 

Spotify has been in the news over the past few weeks because it has been home to “controversial” podcast host Joe Rogan. And let me tell you, “controversial” isn’t what it used to be.

Nowadays, Rogan is considered “controversial” because he’s someone that - <gasp> - allows individuals to speak their opinions and listens to both sides of the story while presenting a spectrum of takes on political and social issues that runs the gamut and may not conform to the mainstream narrative or “the science”.

It was only days ago that I wrote about how I thought Rogan would reshape the mainstream media landscape single-handedly and how his “controversial” style of open-minded discussion may benefit both political parties in the upcoming presidential election, should they be wise enough to adopt it.

This week, the decrepit clutches of cancel culture continued their “war” against Rogan (read: open minded discussion) in the form of 76 year old aging rock star Neil Young, who threatened to pull his catalog of music - which he doesn’t even fully own the rights to - from Spotify as a result of what he calls “misinformation” being presented on Rogan’s show.

Neil Young tells Spotify to remove music over Joe Rogan vaccine  misinformation
Photo: The Verge

Now that we’ve redefined “controversial” as “open minded discussion”, it’s also crucial we redefine “misinformation”. Nowadays, “misinformation” means any utterance of thoughts that weren’t handed down directly from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC, the mainstream media or global elites and central planners.

In response to Young’s temper tantrum this week, Spotify did precisely nothing and, at Young’s request, deftly pulled the artist’s music from their platform.

Perhaps feeling defeated by Spotify’s common sense decision, or perhaps motivated by the perverse amount of press Young received for his “declaration against misinformation”, a second septuagenarian former rocker, 78 year old Joni Mitchell, also joined the fray and threatened to pull her music from Spotify, as well.

As her reasoning for the ultimatum, Mitchell claimed that “irresponsible people are spreading lies”. At first, I thought maybe she had looked back on the “official” declarations that cloth masks would work against the virus, vaccinations would end Covid altogether and that ivermectin was nothing more than veterinary horse paste. Instead, it turns out she, too, was referring to Rogan’s podcast.

Photo: Insider

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that people threatening to pull their music from Spotify are extremely wealthy. Mitchell has an estimated net worth of $100 million and Young has an estimated net worth of $200 million.

I’m not sure these once rebellious, freedom seeking musicians have taken the time to consider those who are now in the shoes they were once in, reliant upon platforms like Spotify for their pittance of royalties as they embark on the beginning stages of their careers. For Young and Mitchell, it clearly isn’t about who else may be affected by a downturn in Spotify’s business. For them, anything is justified in upholding their opinions, ideologies and political beliefs as it comes to what is and isn’t acceptable free speech.

People like Young and Mitchell have become unfortunate shells of what they used to represent while they were writing and performing music decades ago. Worse than that, they’ve become hypocrites, trampling over the very same first amendment they banked on to give them the voice they used to make themselves extravagantly wealthy as counter-culture songwriters in the first place.

Young and Mitchell were immense successes because they tapped into the same vein of American culture that Rogan now resides in: the incessant need to hear “the other side of the story” from what “the man” was preaching. Whether the dialogue is about protesting the Vietnam war or Covid lockdowns is moot: these are the issues of our respective generations.

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The irony is uncanny, if you can zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Joe Rogan is now what these artists used to be: an iconoclast.

My guess is that more aging rockers may also follow suit and that, even if they don’t, the fever pitch to censor Joe Rogan is going to be dialed up even further for Spotify.

Many people may be thinking we have seen what Spotify is made of in its decision to tell Neil Young to go pound sand; but how will the platform react if a barrage of artists starts to make similar threats?

As a believer in capitalism, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spotify is taking a risk/reward approach to this battle in the boardroom. After all, they have shareholders, and there likely is, in fact, some dollar amount that may cause them to cave on Rogan’s deal.

Don’t say it isn’t possible: remember, in a similar analogue, NBC parted ways with Megyn Kelly after just two years, leaving her with the spoils of a $69 million contract just because the network faced feverish outcry from the woke mob.

I just hope that Spotify takes the time to realize that it is in an extremely unique position. If the company continues to have a backbone and is the first to consistently and publicly dissent against the methods of its big tech peers - names like Google, Twitter and Amazon – who don’t seem to have any issues censoring at the first sign of one pimple faced teenager complaining behind a laptop screen and a Reddit forum – they truly have a unique have an opportunity to be on the right side of history going forward.

And that can win them favor that money could never compete with.

As much as businesses may see this as a war based on economics, it is also a war that I believe will grow deep enough to be based on ideologies.

The fact is you are either for politicians, elites, and large technology companies dictating what you can and can not have the right to consider when making decisions, or you support the idea of being able to consider opinions from all ends of the spectrum in order to make your personal decisions.

You are either an advocate for stifling one entire half of an argument - which admittedly may contain the boogeyman disguised as some actual misinformation - or you are pro freedom of speech and an individual’s right to decide for themselves.

And most importantly, you either have the wherewithal to understand that the official narrative has, and will, continue to get things wrong (vaccines would wipe out Covid, for example) and that opinions labeled as “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” can sometimes turn out to be the objective truth (like the lab leak ‘theory’), or you don’t.

If your intentions are only to seek out objective truths, why would you turn away anyone’s opinion before sifting away at all available information before trying to arrive at the facts?

These are questions and concepts that Spotify needs to be asking itself very carefully.

While, from a monetary standpoint, canceling Joe Rogan may, at some point, look like it makes sense on paper, the music giant needs to ask itself at the end of the day: are they the battleground for something even more important than money?

We have yet to see a mainstream big tech company take a serious stand against censorship.  Spotify: are you prepared to be the first?

Photo: Blockworks

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