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'Totally misleading propaganda': Story condemned for saying Spotify lost more than $2 billion after Neil Young removed

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Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Variety, an entrainment news outlet, was promptly bashed for promoting "misleading propaganda" after claiming Spotify lost more than $2 billion in market value following the removal of Neil Young's music.

Spotify dropped Young's music from its platform after he issued the streaming service an ultimatum. Young said that Spotify "can have Rogan or Young ... not both." Spotify ultimately chose Rogan.

What are the details?

On Saturday, Variety published a story with a headline that read, "Spotify Lost More Than $2 Billion in Market Value After Neil Young Pulled His Music Over Joe Rogan’s Podcast."

"Spotify’s market capitalization fell about $2.1 billion over a three-day span this week, coming after folk rocker Neil Young yanked his songs from the audio-streaming giant to protest Joe Rogan’s misinformation-spreading podcast," the story explained.

The news outlet was sharply criticized for the framing of its story because the headline suggested that Young's removal from Spotify was the reason for a loss in Spotify's market value. But as the article explained, Spotify had been hemorrhaging market value for months before the controversy with Rogan, and its value actually rose one day before the story was published.

"To be sure, Spotify’s stock price was already on the slide — having plummeted 25% year-to-date as of Jan. 25, the day before Young’s catalog was pulled off Spotify," the story admitted. "Also, it’s worth noting is that Spotify’s stock rebounded slightly Friday, closing up 1% to $172.98/share, amid a broader market upturn.

Critics blasted:

  • "This is cherry-picked bulls***. The market in general was way down this week, but in the last two days of trading, since they announced Young was gone and Rogan is staying, their stock is actually up slightly. You moronic hacks have no shame!" Mediaite columnist John Ziegler said.
  • "Totally misleading propaganda. Did Spotify market cap drop significantly more than every other tech stock recently?" evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller said.
  • "There was a market correction that knocked down literally the whole market due to the interest rate scare brought about by the US federal reserve. This is wilful (sic) ignorance," another person pointed out.
  • "So hold on — you rally against Rogan for ‘misinformation’ and then you write an article with a completely false narrative? Jesus Christ," one person observed.
  • "Lol the two happened at the same time so it HAS to be connected right?? What a child-like analysis," another person mocked.

Anything else?

Spotify responded to the controversy surrounding Rogan on Sunday by making public the platform's content moderation policies. The company also said it would "add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.

"This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explained.

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