Spotify owner’s wealth drops by $1 billion amidst Joe Rogan controversy

Graphic by Jamie Dunkin

Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO, has seen his personal stocks take a considerable hit, with the Swede losing $1 billion amidst dealing with the fallout of the Joe Rogan misinformation controversy.

The Swedish billionaire was worth $5.7 billion this time last year, but has lost $2.1 billion since then, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. $1 billion of that has happened in the last two months, around the same time as Spotify deals with the Joe Rogan controversy.

Ek owns an 8 percent share in Spotify and is also the co-founder of the music streaming giant.

Spotify’s position on the controversy has seen immense criticism, with multiple high-profile artists ditching the service in protest of the company’s inaction on misinformation. Initially headlined by Neil Young’s departure, Spotify has now seen Joni Mitchell, India.Arie and the Crosby, Stills, and Nash trio all jumping ship in an act of defiance.

In part, Spotify’s slow response can be traced back to their $100 million deal to put The Joe Rogan Experience on the platform in an exclusive deal back in Sept. 2021. Rogan’s had a history of making and airing ill-informed comments and claims around COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Spotify’s position on Rogan’s public indiscretions and comments has been heavily in favor of the star podcaster, with little action taken in the past to suggest a change in position or deal.

Spotify has, however, confirmed they’ll add COVID-19 content advisory labels onto the service, but did not specifically mention Joe Rogan or his podcast.

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