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Neil Young Ends Relationship With Spotify Over Covid-19 Misinformation on Joe Rogan’s Podcast

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Neil Young has officially ended his relationship with Spotify. In a letter posted to his website on Jan. 24, Young requested his management team and record label to remove his content from the streaming platform immediately, asserting.

Neil Young and Joe Rogan's
Neil Young and Joe Rogan’s

“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially leading to death for those who believe this disinformation,” according to Young’s words.

Young was specifically referring to “The Joe Rogan Experience,” a popular podcast which Spotify acquired exclusive rights to in 2020, saying: “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” Ultimately, Spotify chose Joe Rogan and announced they would begin taking away Young’s catalog as of Jan. 26, 2022.

Young is not the first to voice his dissatisfaction with Spotify’s relationship with Rogan, and recent developments suggest he won’t be the last. In December 2021, over 200 scientific and medical professionals joined a letter to Spotify asking them to “moderate misinformation on its platform.

” The group noted instances in which Rogan “discouraged vaccination of young people and children” as well as “promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19” on his podcast (use of this drug has strongly discouraged by the FDA). Rogan also hosted Dr.

Robert Malone, who permanently suspended from Twitter in December 2021 for spreading false information regarding COVID. Dr. Malone used his appearance on the podcast to assert that Americans who opt to wear masks and receive vaccinations are “hypnotized.”

labeling this phenomenon “mass formation psychosis,” and then compared the pandemic-era United States to Nazi Germany. According to Spotify estimates, “The Joe Rogan Experience” boasts over 11 million listeners per episode, underscoring Rogan’s global reach with guests.

Since Young’s departure from Spotify, a host of celebrities including Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, punk rock band Failure, India Arie and Young’s former bandmates from CSNY have all followed suit and removed their content from Spotify.

Many artists attributed Young’s precedent for this decision; Joni Mitchell wrote on her official website that she “stand[s] in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue” before denouncing those spreading lies in an irresponsible message posted to her site.

The Spotify-Rogan controversy raises important questions about the responsibility online platforms have to monitor content that is distributed through them. On January 30th, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek issued a statement in response to the mounting public outcry following Young’s departure from the platform.

In it, he pledged that any podcast discussing COVID-19 should include content advisory messages and confirmed that Spotify provides trustworthy and up-to-date information about the pandemic through its COVID-19 Hub.

Ek also asserted that Spotify would emphasize its Platform Rules to creators in order for them to better comprehend their “accountability” for content they post. This statement suggests Spotify will remain as a platform.

rather than publisher, of opinions such as Joe Rogan’s; something Ek reportedly reiterated during an address to employees in Los Angeles last month. Neil Young fans can still access his music on Amazon and Apple Music, the latter of which recently declared itself “The home of Neil Young” via Twitter.

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