Spotify Takes Down Neil Young Songs After Fight Over Joe Rogan’s Anti-Vaccine Bullshit

Spotify Takes Down Neil Young Songs After Fight Over Joe Rogan’s Anti-Vaccine Bullshit
Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times, Getty Images

Spotify has started to take down songs by Neil Young after the veteran rocker said he didn’t want his music appearing on the same platform as anti-vaccine podcaster Joe Rogan, who has a $US100 ($139) million deal with the service, according to reports from several news outlets. Young had about 6 million monthly listeners of his music on Spotify, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Young, a polio survivor, published an open letter to his management team earlier this week explaining his opposition to Rogan’s anti-vaccine misinformation, saying it would get people killed. Young published a new letter at his website on Wednesday addressing how impressionable 20-somethings could be swayed by Rogan’s bullshit.

“These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information. They unfortunately are wrong,” Young wrote. “I knew I had to point that out.”

The Spotify show, known as the Joe Rogan Experience, has roughly 11 million listeners and regularly hosts people who peddle nonsense, not just about covid-19 and the pandemic, but about everything from race to climate change. As just one example, Rogan hosted self-help guru Jordan Peterson this week and it was quite the doozy.

In his latest letter, Young thanked his record label, Warner Bros., for their support and acknowledged that a large chunk of the company’s revenue came from Spotify.

“Spotify represents 60% of the streaming of my music to listeners around the world, almost every record I have ever released is available — my life’s music — a huge loss for my record company to absorb,” Young wrote.

“Yet my friends at Warner Brothers Reprise stood with me, recognising the threat the COVID misinformation on Spotify posed to the world — particularly for young people who think everything they hear on Spotify is true. Unfortunately it is not.”

Spotify did not respond to a request for comment overnight. The U.S. reported 630,755 new cases of covid-19 on Wednesday and an astonishing 3,551 new deaths from the disease.

Young, who has sparred with Spotify in the past over its low quality audio, does see a bright side to getting his music pulled from the service: Now his fans can go seek out better-sounding recordings from other platforms and in other mediums.

“There is an upside to my listeners, people who may be listening to the 60 years of music I have made in my life so far. It is this: many other platforms, Amazon, Apple and Qobuz, to name a few, present my music today in all its High-Resolution glory — the way it is intended to be heard, while unfortunately Spotify continues to peddle the lowest quality in music reproduction,” Young wrote.

“So much for art. But now that is in the past for me. Soon my music will live on in a better place.”