Music streaming platform Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young’s music after the company refused to remove Joe Rogan’s podcast due to the musician’s objections to spreading misinformation about vaccines.
Rogan has been described by The New York Times as “one of the most consumed media products in the world”. His podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is Spotify’s most popular. In 2020, Rogan signed a $100 million deal giving the streaming giant exclusive rights to his show.
But this week Young released an open letter, later removed, to his manager and his record label, in which he said: “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience], hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest and most influential podcast. Spotify has a responsibility to curb the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company currently has no policy on misinformation.”
The musician added: “I want you to let Spotify TODAY know right away that I want all my music off their platform… You can have Rogan or you can have Young. Not both.”
A Spotify spokesperson Confirmed told the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday that the platform was shutting down Young’s music.
“We want all the music and audio content in the world to be available to Spotify users. With that comes a great responsibility to strike a balance between safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and have removed over 20,000 Covid-related podcast episodes since the pandemic began. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify but hope to welcome him back soon,” the rep said.
Since the pandemic, Rogan, who has legions of devoted supporters, has repeatedly made misleading and false claims.
A few weeks ago, 270 doctors, scientists, health professionals and professors wrote an open letter to Spotify expressing their concerns about medical misinformation on Rogan’s podcast.
The letter highlighted a highly controversial episode last December in which Robert Malone, a virologist who was involved with the mRNA vaccine technology that led to some of the lead Covid-19 vaccines but has been since criticized for dissemination Vaccine Misinformation.
“This is not just a scientific or medical concern; It is a sociological problem of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform,” the letter said.