About 70 episodes of Joe Rogan’s podcast mysteriously disappeared from Spotify on Friday, as noted by JREMissing.com, a web tool that tracks missing episodes. The show (and Spotify’s relationship with it) has received a lot of criticism in recent weeks, but there’s no clear link between that and the missing episodes, nor is there an immediate clear link between the episodes that were removed.
For anyone who’s taken the sanity-preserving step to mute the phrase “Joe Rogan” on Twitter, here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on: Spotify, the exclusive home of The Joe Rogan Experience since the streaming giant moved to reportedly paid $100 million for the fun in 2020, has taken a lot of heat from people who accuse Rogan’s show of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines (among many other things). Musicians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and India Arie have taken their music off the platform in protest, and Rogan himself has apologized to Spotify for the setback it faces (while also defending his show).
Spotify has also addressed the controversy, making its content moderation policy public and holding a tense town hall to defend the company’s relationship with Rogan to employees.
That’s all why it is just a little weird that a number of episodes have disappeared without any apparent explanation. (To be clear, the term “a couple” is relative — the show has more than 1,700 numbered episodes.) A sample conducted by The edge JRE Missing’s data showed that the episodes were indeed no longer on Spotify, even though they were still available to subscribers last year.
Spotify did not immediately respond to The edge‘s request for comment on why the episodes were removed, and most of the explanations that immediately come to mind, don’t seem to make sense. The episodes removed on Friday aren’t new — the most recent featured Gad Saad and aired in 2018, and the oldest was episode four of the show from 2010. Since the episodes were released years before the pandemic, it’s unlikely that they will appear. contain any misinformation about COVID that has sparked the recent controversy.
It’s almost certainly not a situation where the guests have asked for the episodes to be removed to avoid further association with Rogan – there are seven more episodes with Saad in Spotify’s archives, and a twitter thread from Michael Malice seems to imply that he had nothing to do with removing the episodes he starred in.
This isn’t the first time episodes have been removed from the JRE archives – Insider reports that more than 40 episodes disappeared last April. It was unclear at the time why it happened, but the situation is now even stranger given the… well, everything that’s going on.
Joe Rogan also did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment. We’ll be sure to let you know if we hear from him or Spotify.