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Joe Rogan’s Podcast Sparks Tensions Inside Spotify

Joe Rogan’s Podcast Sparks Tensions Inside Spotify

Spotify Technology SA’s $100 million bet on Joe Rogan has put the audiostreaming company in business with one of podcasting’s most popular—and polari

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Spotify Technology SA’s $100 million bet on Joe Rogan has put the audiostreaming company in business with one of podcasting’s most popular—and polarizing—voices. Amid controversy, executives are standing by that voice.

The deal to bring Mr. Rogan to Spotify is already showing signs of success. His millions of loyal fans have made “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast Spotify’s No. 1 show since arriving on the platform in September, “outperforming our audience expectations,” the company said when reporting its earnings Thursday. The company’s stock has run up more than 50% since the deal was announced in May.

Mr. Rogan’s show, which also tops Apple Podcast charts and other rankings, has troubled some company employees, who in a town-hall meeting in September expressed concern over material they felt was anti-transgender, according to people familiar with the matter.

Recent appearances on the show from two guests—first Abigail Shrier, an author critical of transgender issues; then Alex Jones, a radio host and the publisher of InfoWars, whose content has been removed from Facebook , Apple, YouTube and Spotify—have sparked outrage from listeners inside and outside the company who have posted on social media to express their disagreement.

Spotify employees are encouraged to openly debate topics as diverse as app updates and the snacks available in the office, people familiar with the matter say. As the company works remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of these debates take place in Slack channels dubbed clubs.

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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