Neil Young’s music is no longer on the Spotify platform as of yesterday. Young said he wanted his music off the platform because of Spotify’s misinformation, alluding to their flagship podcaster, Joe Rogan.
The music icon took issue with the podcasting icon’s statements about the Covid-19 vaccine on his Spotify-hosted program.
Neil Young: Grossly Unfactual
In a statement, Young wrote: “Spotify has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID.” He continued: “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.”
Later in the statement Young noted that he lacks the ability to make such a move directly as Warner Records (formerly Warner Bros.) are the rights holder of his music. “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.” Young later implied Warner acquiesced to his decision. “I want to thank my truly great and supporting record company … Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify. Thank you!”
Wading into the murky waters of cancel culture, Young concluded his statement by saying: “I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the Spotify platform and stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about COVID.”
In response to Young’s statement, Spotify said they had a responsibility for balancing both the safety for listeners and the freedom for creators. They said they regretted Neil’s decision to remove his music but hoped to welcome him back soon.
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Neil Young: A Troubled History With Spotify
This is not the first time the 76-year-old rock star has pulled his music from the Spotify platform, but it is the first time he’s done it for political reasons. In 2015 he withdrew his entire catalog from all streaming services (not just Spotify) over sound quality issues. In a Facebook post, Young wrote he felt his music was being “devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting…” and that it was “bad for my music.”
The Joe Rogan Experience
Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” is the most listened-to podcast on Spotify’s streaming service. In May 2020, Joe Rogan signed a $100 million deal for Spotify to have exclusive distribution rights.