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Spotify Drops Customer Service, Keeps Joe Rogan

Customers upset with the Rogan decision are reportedly receiving an automated message when the company used to offer live customer support.

If you were thinking of contacting Spotify  (SPOT) - Get Spotify Technology SA Report to complain about their Joe Rogan decision, you may want to reconsider. Instead of responding to the complaints, the music streaming platform has reportedly replaced live people with an automated response system.

At the start of the week, well-known rock and roll musician Neil Young took Spotify to task over its $100 million contract with podcaster, comedian and former Ultimate Fighting commentator Joe Rogan — while the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast attracts huge audiences, it has also been the forum he used to discourage young people from taking vaccines and promote the unproven ivermectin drug as a treatment for COVID-19. 

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What Happened With Young And Rogan?

Even prior to Young's request to Spotify to either drop Rogan or remove all his music from the platform, over 270 scientists and doctors signed an open letter calling for Spotify to prevent the spread of misinformation through the podcast.

"Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy," Young, who caught polio as a child three years before a vaccine was made available, wrote in a Jan. 25 letter to Spotify. "[...] They can have Rogan or Young. Not both."

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By Wednesday, Spotify chose to remove Young's music instead of Rogan. With over 11 million listeners, the podcast is by far its most popular and the platform had previously signed a multiyear, $100 million contract with Rogan in 2020.

The situation caused outrage not just among rock-and-roll fans (songs like "Heart Of Gold" and "Like A Hurricane" have made Young a beloved figure) but also average listeners who felt that Spotify was enabling misinformation during a deadly pandemic. 

So What Is Spotify Doing About It?

Many took to both social media and customer service to complain and, as Newsweek first reported, the support chat -- which previously used live people -- started getting back to customers with an automated response.

"We're currently getting a lot of contacts so may be slow to respond," a message that some received around 2 p.m. on Thursday reportedly read. Prior to this situation, they would be able to chat with a real customer service staff member (albeit sometimes after a lengthy wait).

The uproar shows no sign of winding down and, at the moment, thousands of posts about either having quit or how to quit Spotify are circulating on Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report, and Facebook (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report.

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