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Spotify removing Neil Young's music after rocker's Joe Rogan ultimatum

Young has accused the streaming service of “spreading fake information about vaccines” by hosting Rogan’s podcast.

Neil Young performing in Hyde Park in London in 2019.
Neil Young performing in Hyde Park in London in 2019.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

NEIL YOUNG MADE good on his vow to have his music removed from Spotify after demanding the streaming service choose between him and Joe Rogan, the controversial podcaster accused of spreading disinformation.

The prolific, legendary singer behind “Heart of Gold” and “Harvest Moon” 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% 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.”

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 (€89 million), 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 antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.

In a statement widely available across US media, Spotify said Wednesday that “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.”

Young’s move followed the publication in December of an open letter from 270 doctors, physicians and professors to Spotify, asking the service to “moderate misinformation on its platform.”

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“It is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform,” read the letter.

It’s not the first time the “Rockin’ In The Free World” singer has removed his music from Spotify. In 2015 he did so after citing sound-quality issues.

In his latest missive, Young again blasted Spotify’s sound, saying the company “continues to peddle the lowest quality in music production. So much for art.”

“But now that is in the past for me,” he wrote, recommending a number of other platforms that stream his music in high-resolution.

“Soon my music will live on in a better place.”

© AFP 2022

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