Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
But I didn’t pull the trigger, and I haven’t pulled it yet, days later.
I’ve been told I shouldn’t be doing business with Amazon either, but I haven’t cut those ties. They host my books, for one thing (though I can’t say they actually sell my books, if you catch my drift). They also make it easy to buy things that aren’t available in local stores up here in the foothills, so you could say they allow me not to drive a significant distance all the time, thus saving fuel and sparing the air. There are pluses and minuses.
I do boycott Facebook, though not entirely because they’re evil (which they are). It’s just that, in a weird anomaly, I’m locked out of my account and don’t care enough to try to get back in. I wanted to get back in to delete the account, but it’s not worth the hours of effort to get it done.
You can make a case for avoiding Google too. And Walmart. And Starbucks. The truth is, there are a lot of companies with sketchy business and labor practices, and you could weave a tangled network of boycotts if you wanted to. Your life would get awfully complicated.
Everyone’s running to Apple Music from Spotify, but I’m not all that sure Apple is squeaky clean. There’s the little matter of their Chinese labor. And I have a problem with their obvious strategy of planned obsolescence. They do pay more to artists per stream than Spotify, but Spotify’s not the worst offender in that area. Also, I get nervous when a company seems to dominate more than one sector of life, and Apple’s definitely shooting for that kind of control.
Bottom line is, the Spotify boycott is all about the Joe Rogan podcast, in which Rogan and guests have spread mis- and disinformation about covid, vaccines, and folk therapies like ivermectin. It’s bad, what Rogan is up to (especially because of his “I’m just asking questions” shtick), and millions of people believe what they hear on his show. I’m definitely boycotting Joe Rogan, which happens to be super easy for me. I boycott Fox News too. Even easier.
I do think it’s the artists’ prerogative to refuse to share the platform with a Joe Rogan, and it’s encouraging to see more and more of them dropping the service. To my mind, that has a larger impact than individuals canceling. It gets ink in the papers. It keeps the issue alive. Let’s face it: Unless mass cancellations cause pain that would exceed the cost of dropping Rogan (who has an exclusive $100 million deal with Spotify), the company will absorb the loss. It’s a foreign entity, by the way, and Rogan is a purely American problem. Subscribers in Europe and Asia won’t be dropping out because of it.
In other words, canceling makes you feel good but doesn’t inflict a lot of ouch on Spotify. Again, look at Amazon. Despite millions who refuse to do business with them, the company’s worth $1.65 trillion. Look at AT&T, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, McDonald’s—none of them is without sin. If you drop Spotify but not AT&T (for supporting OANN), can you explain the difference?
I’ll be interested to see how this all shakes down, but companies don’t really have moral hearts, and when their raison d’être is shareholder value, I’d be surprised if the boycott gets the desired results. The newly announced content advisories will provide a comforting smokescreen for most people.
Just out of curiosity, have you dropped Spotify in solidarity with Mr. Young?