Legendary singer-songwriter Neil Young's music will no longer be available on Spotify.
On Jan. 24, Young demanded that his music be removed from the streaming service due to Spotify's distribution partnership with the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. Young accused the podcast of spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
In an open letter posted to Neil Young Archives, Young criticized Spotify for giving The Joe Rogan Experience a platform. (Young's letter has since been deleted.)
"I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines -- potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them," Young writes. "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both."
Rolling Stone reports that over 200 doctors, physicians and science educators penned an open letter asking Spotify to stop spreading misinformation. (The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is exclusive to Spotify.) The letter was in response to a controversial episode of the podcast featuring guest Dr. Robert Malone.
In a follow-up message posted to his website, Young said he was "happy and proud" to take a stand against Spotify.
"Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information," Young writes. "I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joni Mitchell is also removing her music from the streaming service in solidarity with Young.
"Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives," Mitchell writes on her website. "I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue."
Young is now promoting a deal with Amazon Music. (Variety reports that Young is not being compensated by Amazon to promote the deal.)
"All of my fans who are looking for my music should use this link amazonmusic.com/neilyoung for the US (or amazonmusic.ca/neilyoung for Canada, etc.)," Young shared. "All new listeners to Amazon Music will automatically get four months free. Amazon has been leading the pack in bringing Hi-Res audio to the masses, and it's a great place to enjoy my entire catalog in the highest quality available."
On Sunday, Jan. 30, Rogan responded to the protests on Instagram, arguing that he was not spreading misinformation.
"I'm not a doctor, I'm not a scientist. I'm just a person who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them," Rogan said in a video. "Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong. But I try to correct them ... I'm interested in telling the truth, I'm interested in finding out what the truth is."
In a press release, Spotify announced that the streaming service has plans to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. The advisory will direct listeners to Spotify's COVID-19 Hub, which provides "easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources."
Country singer Margo Price was among the artists who voice support for Neil Young and Joni Mitchell's stance.
"Massive respect to Joni Mitchell & Neil Young for always telling the truth through their art," Price wrote on social media.
massive respect to Joni Mitchell & Neil Young for always telling the truth through their art. please remember not all of us have that kind of power/control but even if we want it. I feel inspired to f*ck some shit up from the inside and I know we are all stronger together. pic.twitter.com/uJ616iLiDT
— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) January 29, 2022
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