Neil Young Pulls Catalog From Spotify After Joe Rogan Podcast Ultimatum

"I could not continue to support Spotify's life-threatening misinformation to the music loving public." -- Neil Young

By Scott Bernstein Jan 27, 2022 7:22 am PST

On Monday, Neil Young posted on a letter on his website, which was quickly deleted, demanding the removal of his music from Spotify in protest of the service’s podcast hosted by 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,” wrote Young as per Rolling Stone before adding, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” Yesterday, Spotify chose Rogan and began pulling Neil Young’s music from its streaming service.

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” a spokesperson said to The Hollywood Reporter and other media outlets. “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, but hope to welcome him back soon.”

Neil Young posted a new letter to his website on Wednesday taking aim at Spotify. “I could not continue to support Spotify’s life-threatening misinformation to the music loving public… Spotify has become the home of life-threatening COVID misinformation. Lies being sold for money,” the 76-year-old musician wrote regarding Rogan’s frequent dismissals of COVID-19 vaccines on The Joe Rogan Experience.

Young went on to praise his record company for its handling of the situation. “I want to thank my truly great and supportive record company Warner Brothers-Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify. Thank You!” noted Neil. “Spotify represents 60 percent of the streaming of my music to listeners around the world,” explained Young of the “huge loss” for his “record company to absorb.”

Neil Young’s ultimatum came after hundreds of medical industry professionals, doctors, scientists, professors and nurses issued an open letter on January 10 calling upon the service to address the spread of misinformation on The Joe Rogan Experience. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine,” the letter noted. “He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are ‘gene therapy,’ promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (contrary to FDA warnings), and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. In episode #1757, Rogan hosted Dr. Robert Malone, who was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.”

“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,” read another part of the open letter. “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.” Yesterday’s statement from Spotify was the first from the service since the letter was posted. The Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report Young’s music was being removed from Spotify.

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