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28 January 2022

Spotify removes Neil Young’s music after he objects to Joe Rogan podcast

28 January 2022

Spotify have agreed to remove Neil Young’s music after he issued an ultimatum saying that they could either have him or Joe Rogan, owing to concerns that the podcaster was disseminating misinformation regarding Covid-19 via the streaming service.

Spotify paid $100m for rights to Rogan’s podcast in 2020, so it’s little wonder that roughly 48-hours after the 76-year-old Heart of Gold hit-maker called for action to be taken, he has already been removed.

Now the only tracks of Young’s still available are those officially licensed for soundtracks or samples of his songs used by other musicians.

In their own statement, Spotify said: “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. 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-19 since the start of the pandemic.”

Both Young and his record labels have been applauded for their integrity over the matter after they look set to lose out on 60% of their usual streaming incomes due to the departure, but have asserted that the move has been “in the name of the truth”.

Young’s original open letter to Spotify read: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform.

“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. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.

“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE [the Joe Rogan Experience] which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,” the Canadian-American star continued.

“Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy,” he added.

Last month, 270 doctors, scientists and healthcare professionals signed an open letter calling for Spotify to implement a policy for dealing with misinformation because of Rogan’s “concerning history” in discussing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spotify has removed controversial content in the past, including several episodes of Rogan’s podcast featuring right-wing personalities, which were recorded before he signed his exclusivity deal with them.

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