From our correspondent in the United States,

“They can have Rogan or Young.

Not both.

In an open letter, Neil Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify on Monday, accusing the Swedish platform of promoting "misinformation" about the Covid, while the podcast

The Joe Rogan Experience

, number 1 in the United States in 2021, regularly flirts with conspiracy.

Unsurprisingly, Spotify chose Joe Rogan, and Neil Young began to withdraw, with the support of Warner, most of his catalog.

Who is Joe Rogan?

Little known in France, Joe Rogan has built a media empire in the United States and in the Anglo-Saxon world.

He started with stand-up in the late 1980s, then landed a few small roles in Hollywood.

But it was as an MMA (

mixed martial arts

) commentator for the UFC that his notoriety exploded in the early 2000s, and he hosted the hit game

Fear Factor

at the same time .

He launched his podcast

The Joe Rogan Experience

(JRE) in 2009. In 13 years, he is on the 1770th episode, or one every two and a half days.

What does his podcast look like?

In his early days, it was mostly Rogan and his buddies, often comedians, who “bullshit” – he says so – together for hours.

Then came the athletes and the actors.

Little by little, Joe Rogan managed to attract an impressive panel of guests from all walks of life.

Politicians, scientists, magicians, adventurers, activists, musicians… Joe Rogan is interested in everything, with a pronounced fascination for psychedelic drugs and UFOs.

And if he is not an expert in anything, the long conversations – live for a long time and now recorded – which sometimes last three or four hours allow the guests to get to the bottom of things.

His discussions with Elon Musk – who had smoked a joint live – Bernie Sanders, Edward Snowden, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson or Lance Armstrong are fascinating.

Why is his podcast controversial?

Rogan, who claims to be a libertarian, allows himself to discuss everything, and with everyone.

Over the years, it has hosted many controversial guests, such as alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, conspiratorialist Alex Jones and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes.

The Canadian Jordan Peterson, idol of masculinists, is a regular.

At best, Joe Rogan is accused of providing them with a platform without many contradictions.

At worst, he himself ventures into minefields, such as when he debates the issue of IQ differences between different populations or claims his right to repeat the taboo word "nigger" in the name of his fight against political correctness.

African-American author Michael Harriot sees it as more ignorance than racism: Rogan, according to him, does not understand the hurtful passive of a word "that does not evoke the memory of his grandparents with a cord around their necks or the wealth stolen from their entire family.

And the Covid in all this?

Joe Rogan is accused of having discouraged vaccination against Covid among young people and promoted ivermectin, an unauthorized treatment. In the spring of 2021, he launched in particular: “If you are a healthy person, you play sports, you are young and you eat well, I do not think you need to worry. If you're 21 and you ask me 'should I get vaccinated', I'd say 'no'. »

Himself positive for Covid-19 last September, he had praised his cocktail of drugs to treat himself, in particular ivermectin.

In October, he confirmed to CNN doctor and health consultant Sanjay Gupta that he was not vaccinated, saying he had made an appointment but had had an impediment and now had natural immunity after his infection.

In mid-January, a group of 270 doctors and researchers wrote an open letter to Spotify denouncing the "public health threat" posed by Joe Rogan and asking the platform to establish "a clear moderation policy on misinformation". .

Why didn't Neil Young make the weight?

It was following this letter that Neil Young sent his ultimatum to Spotify.

But even if he has his place since 1995 in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, the American-Canadian singer was no match for it.

With just over 2 million subscribers and 6 million monthly listeners, the interpreter of

Old Man

is a drop of water for the Swedish titan.

Who paid, according to rumours, more than 100 million dollars to afford exclusive episodes of

The Joe Rogan Experience

at the end of 2020.

Spotify doesn't report on the podcast's audiences, but according to the

Wall Street Journal

, they're around 11 million per episode.

In 2021, JRE was the most listened to podcast on Spotify in the United States, but also in Australia and the United Kingdom.

And while the platform battles with Apple, podcasts have an advantage: they contain ads, even for paid subscribers.

For Joe Rogan, it's often 75 seconds for food supplements of dubious effectiveness.

Spotify, for its part, is defending itself.

“We have deleted more than 20,000 episodes of Covid-related podcasts since the start of the pandemic”, assures the company.

Which also deleted dozens of old episodes of JRE, including the one with Alex Jones.

On the other hand, the one with Robert Malone, pioneer of messenger RNA vaccines, who became an idol of antivax conservatives in the United States, is still available.

Spotify will keep its profits.

And Neil Young, his dignity.

  • Vaccination

  • Covid-19

  • World

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  • Covid vaccine

  • Spotify

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