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Management looking into Neil Young’s request to boycott Spotify in Joe Rogan protest

By | Published on Wednesday 26 January 2022

Neil Young

Neil Young has demanded that his music be removed from Spotify in protest at its Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has been accused of spreading misinformation around COVID-19.

It follows a recent open letter signed by more than 250 scientists and medics that stated that the Spotify exclusive podcast has “a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic”.

That letter insisted that Spotify itself – as the distributor of the podcast – has responsibility here, because by distributing Joe Rogan’s tedious ramblings it is helping to “damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals”.

Echoing a number of the specific criticisms contained in that letter, earlier this week Young penned his own note on the matter. Posted to – but subsequently removed from – the musician’s website, Young’s note addressed his manager Frank Gironda and the boss of his label, Tom Corson at Warner Records.

He wrote: “With an estimated eleven million listeners per episode, JRE – which is hosted exclusively on Spotify – is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy. I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both”.

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

Asked about the letter by the Daily Beast, Gironda confirmed that this is “something that’s really important to Neil – he’s very upset”. As for removing Young’s music from Spotify, the manager added, “We’re trying to figure this out right now”.

It’s not the first time Young has demanded his music be removed from Spotify, though in 2015 it was because he was disgruntled about the audio quality of music on digital music services – something he was trying to fix at the time with his own ultimately unsuccessful Pono venture.

However, that time Young had his music taken off all the streaming platforms, whereas this time it’s only Spotify that has the Joe Rogan exclusive. Given how much Spotify paid to have that exclusive, if push comes to shove, it will presumably have to pick Rogan over Young. Though, as we write this, the musician’s music is still happily streaming away on the platform.