Spotify will no longer serve as a hosting platform to Canadian folk singer Neil Young after Young threatened to pull his music from the service if it continued to provide a platform to Joe Rogan. Spotify, unsurprisingly, went with the podcaster whose episodes draw 11 million listeners each.
Young recently published an open letter criticizing Spotify for hosting Rogan, whom Young has accused of spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19, a common criticism of the television host turned podcaster.
“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,” Young wrote in the now-deleted letter. “They can have Young or Rogan. Not both.”
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users … We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” a Spotify spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter in response to Young removing his music. Young’s decision is estimated to lose him 60 percent of his streaming revenue.
Young’s protest of Rogan’s presence on Spotify comes shortly after a group of doctors petitioned Spotify to remove Rogan for similar reasons. That too went largely unheard.
Spotify ostensibly choosing Rogan over Young is unsurprising, considering that not even Neil Young’s catalog of classics could compete with the numbers Rogan puts up with every podcast episode. The story led to a wide range of reactions on social media, as Rogan fans crowed that he “won” by remaining on the platform while those in Young’s camp applauded the singer for taking a principled stand in an issue he knew he’d likely “lose.”
Love the clowns who are laughing as if Neil Young ever thought Spotify would drop Joe Rogen. The guy took a stand, put his money where his mouth is. Forced a shitty company to make a true colors-revealing decision. This is just one of the many reasons Neil is an all-timer.
— scharpling (@scharpling) January 27, 2022
Neil Young hasn’t listened to a single hour of Rogan’s podcast, and neither have all the NPCs on here obediently expressing their support.
Anyone with half a brain who actually listens to Rogan’s show knows the media’s portrayal of what is discussed is malevolently wrong.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) January 25, 2022
I just quit Spotify. Neil Young has been a beacon of integrity my entire life. Joe Rogan enables right-wing authoritarianism and pointless extra Covid deaths. https://t.co/3WLEuxbUVE
— Matt Zoller Seitz (@mattzollerseitz) January 27, 2022
NEIL YOUNG: I want all my music off the Spotify until they fire Joe Rogan.
The World: Neil Who? Oh, him. Is he still alive?
— Mark Towhey (@towhey) January 25, 2022
Seems like Neil Young challenged @joerogan to a fight, entered the ring and then knocked himself out. Strange.
— Douglas Murray (@DouglasKMurray) January 27, 2022
Pretty cool that Neil Young took a strong stand for truth and public health regarding Spotify.
Pretty sad he is the only one.#ProfitOverPrinciple
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 27, 2022
It remains to be seen if Young’s actions will inspire other artists to follow in his footsteps. The story has led to increased calls from fans to get artists to join Young’s protest and while Spotify can certainly suffer the loss of one older rock star, things will get trickier if, say, Taylor Swift joined his cause.
Who else thinks it would be AMAZING for Taylor Swift to punish Spotify by DITCHING them for choosing Joe Rogan’s Covid lies over Neil Young’s music? 🖐️
RT so @taylorswift13 hears you!
— CALL TO ACTIVISM (@CalltoActivism) January 27, 2022