07 December 2021, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Villingen-Schwenningen: The application app Spotify can be seen on the display of an iPhone SE. Photo: Silas Stein/dpa (Photo by Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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March 30, 2022 6:21 AM EDT

Spotify’s 400 million users can’t listen to Neil Young. But they can get The Joe Rogan Experience, an exclusive podcast whose host’s COVID-19 beliefs and use of racial slurs caused an uproar this winter. Some artists (like Young) and users left amid the outrage. Yet Spotify beat Apple as the top podcast provider in 2021, added audiobooks, and gained nearly 30 million subscribers during the pandemic. “Canceling voices is a slippery slope,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a memo amid calls to end Spotify’s deal with Rogan; he then announced a $100 million investment on content from “marginalized groups.”

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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