Left-wing rocker Neil Young has demanded streaming giant Spotify remove his music over the platform’s refusal to blacklist podcaster Joe Rogan.
In an open letter to his management team and record label, Young accused Spotify of “spreading fake information about vaccines” while issuing an ultimatum between him and Joe Rogan.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” he wrote. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” he continued. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Young’s letter comes after 270 doctors, professors, and physicians signed an open letter demanding that Spotify boot Joe Rogan.
On Dec. 31, 2021, the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), a Spotify-exclusive podcast, uploaded a highly controversial episode featuring guest Dr. Robert Malone (#1757). The episode has been criticized for promoting baseless conspiracy theories and the JRE has a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals. JRE #1757 is not the only transgression to occur on the Spotify platform, but a relevant example of the platform’s failure to mitigate the damage it is causing.
As noted by Rolling Stone, Neil Young has not exactly been a friend to Spotify in recent years, having previously removed most of his music from the platform in 2019 after complaining about the sound quality; he ultimately relented and let Spotify carry his music.
“That’s where people get music,” he said. “I want people to hear my music no matter what they have to get through to do it. I’m just trying to make it so they hear a lot more and enjoy it a lot more, but sell it for the same price because music is music.”
Spotify has not yet responded to Neil Young’s letter, which was addressed to his manager Frank Gironda and Tom Corson, the co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Bros.
Neil Young previously banned former President Trump from playing his song “Rockin’ in the Free World” at rallies. “DT does not have my permission to use the song ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ at his appearances,” said Young in 2018. “Legally, he has the right to, however it goes against my wishes.”