Spotify started removing Neil Young’s music from the streaming platform on Wednesday (Jan. 26) after the veteran singer-songwriter gave the company an ultimatum — remove Joe Rogan or lose him.
This old hippy Neil Young had published an open letter this week accusing Spotify of “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death” by putting out Rogan’s podcast that racks up millions of listens.
On Wednesday he published a second letter to his website, thanking his record company, Warner’s Reprise Records for their support “in the name of truth.”
He said Spotify accounts for 60 percent of his music’s global streaming income.
Young has deemed the stand worth it: “Spotify has become the home of life-threatening COVID misinformation,” he wrote. “Lies being sold for money.”
“I realized I could not continue to support SPOTIFY’s life-threatening misinformation to the music-loving public.”
“I first learned of this problem by reading that 200 plus doctors had joined forces, taking on the dangerous, life-threatening COVID falsehoods found in Spotify programming. Most of the listeners hearing the unfactual, misleading, and false COVID information on Spotify are 24 years old, impressionable, and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth. These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information. They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out,” Young wrote.
He continued, “Before I told my friends at Warner Bros. about my desire to leave the Spotify platform, I was reminded by my own legal forces that contractually I did not have the control of my music to do that. I announced I was leaving anyway, because I knew I was. I was prepared to do all I could and more just to make sure that happened. I want to thank my truly great and supportive record company Warner Bros./Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify. Thank You!”
His music was expected to come down within hours Wednesday evening, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that the removal was confirmed.
Young had 2.4 million followers and over six million monthly listeners on the popular streaming platform.
Rogan has a multi-year exclusive deal with Spotify, reportedly to the tune of $100 million (roughly Rs. 750 crore), and a massive following.
But critics say his podcast is a platform for peddling conspiracy theories and disinformation, particularly over COVID -19.
Rogan has discouraged vaccination in young people and promoted the off-label use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.
In a statement on Wednesday, Spotify said, “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. 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,” the service said, “but hope to welcome him back soon.”