Spotify: Distinction between Publisher and Platform

Spotify is a platform we are all conversant with, and It is a digital Music, Podcast and Video Service which gives us access to millions of songs and other content from Various content creators all across the continent. The streaming platform was launched in 2008 and has been providing value to content creators for over a decade. The streaming Platform is ranked the most popular streaming service leading to other options.

But recently, the platform Service has been acting as both a platform and a publisher. This is because Spotify is reasserting its status as a platform but more of a publisher. You might be wondering why a platform like Spotify is more concerned about what has been published. In 2020, the streaming Platform signed a popular podcaster Ned “JOE ROGAN”, to an exclusive multi-year podcasting deal worth over $100 Million. But it was said that the famous Podcaster had Platformed misinformation about Covid’19. This got the attention of over 270 physicians and scientists, signing an open letter to the streaming Platform, demanding that a policy for spreading misinformation be created.

Certain high-profile figures, just as Joni Mitchell, Neli Young, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Pulled their content from the streaming platform. After this, Spotify published rules which prevent the spread and misinformation of false and deceptive information about Covid’19 and other illnesses. The famous Podcaster also asked the streaming Platform to take down 100 episodes of his podcast called “The Joe Rogan Experience” for various reasons and because of the use of racial slurs. The CEO of Spotify, “DANIEL EK,” has committed to investing $100 million into audio content from underrepresented groups as this act is perceived as a Goodwill to save the streaming Platform dues to the PR Crises.

I would say this is a good move because the streaming Platform has saddled the responsibility by acknowledging what was wrongly done and also leaning into its decision to act as a publisher in other to subdue the PR Crises.


The streaming Platform positioning itself as a publisher and a platform was a huge move; as we all know, Spotify was just a platform just for content creation to post their works, so long it followed the platform’s guidelines. But now, serving as a publisher means also becoming a watch to take down or disapprove of content which many may consider as bad take or inappropriate and also bring to the notice of everyone that they subscribe or stand with any opinions that seem incorrect.

For instance, where the editorial curation or money is involved, the streaming Platform is solely responsible for the result of their choice. In the case of Joe Rogan, the fact that they had invested some money into his content, they had to go through the responsibility for the misinformation about Covid’19, now using the same amount which was invested in Joe Rogan, too vague collection of Underrepresented content creations. If you ask anyone, they will agree that the streaming Platform did the right thing.

According to the CEO of Spotify, DANIEL EK stated that the streaming Platform for Joe Rogan was just for his content, but that’s it has a publisher for its studio, like the precast, Ringers and Gimlet.

He said, ” I understand the premise that because we have an exclusive deal with him, It is easy to conclude that we endorse every word he says and believes the opinion expressed by his guests.” But that’s not the case.

The CEO stated, “A publisher has editorial control over a Creator’s content. This implies that action can be taken on the Content before publication. The content can also be edited, Curated or can utter the replacement of a guest. And in some cases, the content might not even be published. According to him, when the Joe Rogan library of content moved to Spotify, the streaming Platform removed over 40 episodes, Which Various Guests like Famous Conspiracy theorists David Seaman, Stefan Molyneux and Gavin Mclnnes (Founder Of Proud Boys), Who the Southern Poverty Law Centre described as an “Alt-Right Extremist who supported Eugenic and White Supremacism.

The CEO clarified that the streaming Platform doesn’t have editorial control over “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast and is also not involved in bookings, editing or Producing the show. But then, that doesn’t exclude them from taking responsibility during the PR Crises. The company might not be working hands-on with Joe Rogan daily, but they invested in his podcast to partner exclusively with the streaming platform. Yet as the famous Podcaster’s fame keeps rising, it will be a win-win for the streaming Platform because of the fast move made.

In recent times, Spotify hasn’t been the only Platform that will be taking up the role of a Publisher, Platform such as Substack has subsequently fallen into such a trap. The newsletter monetization company has doubled down on content moderation policies, Which makes Platforms like Substack prohibit content like pornography, impersonation, hateful initiative or incitement of hate and violence, Content promoting illegal activities and many more. Because they have also experienced PR Crises for Profiting off Covid’19 misinformation performed by Transphobic authors through its “Substack Pro” Program, this provided some writers with cash advancement and made Substack make some editorial decisions.

Netflix was also not left out, as this platform had its share of PR Crises. Sometime late last year (2021), Some employees posted a New Netflix- exclusive, “Dave Chapelle Special, When the comedian made some harmful Transphobic comments B. Pagels – Minor. The main organizer of the walkout and global lead of both the black and Trans – Employee resource group was immediately relieved from working with Netflix and accused of allegedly leaking the company’s data, an internal metric on Chapelle’s Special that appeared in a story by Bloomberg. This led to Netflix paying $24.1 Million for the one-off special.

Unlike Spotify, Netflix is a publisher and not just a platform. While they host various content not produced by them, Netflix also invests billions of dollars into its original content. Despite the reduction in subscription numbers, Netflix is still growing and blooming. And with Spotify taking the same measure in Distinction between Publishing and the streaming platform the sky, can only be a stepping stone.

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