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Spotify Replaces Support Agents with Automated Message in Wake of Joe Rogan Controversy

By Laura Stotler February 02, 2022

Popular podcaster Joe Rogan has made headlines the past two weeks after being put on blast for using his platform on Spotify to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Spotify has had such an influx of complaints about its star podcaster the platform has replaced live customer service agents with an automated response system to keep up with the surge.

The kerfuffle began last week, when musician Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum to remove the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast or remove his vast catalog of music from the platform. Young was quickly followed by musician Joni Mitchell, along with India Arie and Graham Nash, Young's bandmate in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Other performers who have pulled their material from Spotify include Nils Lofgren, a guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and several podcasters including bestselling author and New York Times columnist Roxanne Gay.

Prior to Young's request, more than 270 scientists and doctors signed an open letter calling on Spotify to prevent the spread of misinformation through Rogan's podcast.

Spotify, which has a $100 million contract with Rogan, has decided it has no obligation to moderate podcast content and is allowing its star podcaster to continue on the platform. The streaming platform has 172 million subscribers.

"With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators," a Spotify spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. "We have detailed content policies in place and we've removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon."

As Spotify customers began posting on social media and reaching out to customer service to complain about the platform's choice, the company switched its support chat from human agents to automated responses generated through a bot.

"We're currently getting a lot of contacts so may be slow to respond," stated an automated message last week, according to reports. Customers previously had been able to reach an actual customer service agent through the chat.

According to California guitarist Brian Ray, the only way for customers to easily close their Spotify accounts is to remove their credit cards from their profile settings.

"The only easy way to leave @Spotify is to remove your credit card payments in profile settings," Ray tweeted. "They are getting swarmed and they will not help you cancel."

Edited by Luke Bellos
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CustomerZone360 Contributing Editor

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