Spotify Says It's Taking Down All Neil Young's Music

Rocker wanted it pulled to protest Joe Rogan's COVID misinformation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2022 8:07 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2022 5:57 PM CST
Neil Young's Ultimatum: Spotify 'Can Have Rogan or Me. Not Both'
Neil Young poses for a portrait at Lost Planet Editorial in Santa Monica, Calif. on Sept. 9, 2019.   (Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) Update: Spotify says it is removing Neil Young's music from its platform as per his request. The rocker said Monday that he wanted his music pulled to protest Joe Rogan's podcast and other COVID misinformation on Spotify. "We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon," a Spotify rep tells Variety. In a statement on his website, Young praised his "truly great and supportive record company," Warner Brothers Reprise, for supporting the move, which will cost 60% of his worldwide streaming income. Our original story from Tuesday follows:

First hundreds of medical professionals took on Joe Rogan. Now a member of CSNY is making his own stand. On Monday, Neil Young posted an open letter announcing he wants all of his music pulled from Spotify due to false information on the COVID vaccine that's allowed to circulate on the streaming platform, specifically via Rogan's popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. "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 said in his letter to Warner Bros. Records COO Tom Corson and his own manager, Frank Gironda, per USA Today. "Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule."

Young then added: "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both." The letter has since been taken down from the Neil Young Archives website, but Gironda confirmed to the Daily Beast that it was real, and that "it's something that's really important to Neil." Gironda noted Young, 76, is "very upset" about false vaccine info that's proliferating and that they're trying to figure out the next steps. Billboard notes that Rogan often voices his doubts about the coronavirus vaccine and promotes treatments for COVID not approved by the FDA (e.g., ivermectin) on his podcast, which can have as many as 11 million listeners per episode—leading to "tremendous influence," per Young's letter.

The 54-year-old host has also interviewed controversial figures about the vaccine, including Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who's been banned from Twitter for disseminating misinformation on COVID, and who earned backlash for drawing comparisons to the push for vaccination in the US to the rise of the Nazis in Germany. It's not the first time Young has yanked his tunes off Spotify. In 2015, the singer pulled most of his music off of there and other platforms, citing low audio quality. He ended up allowing his music back on the next year. "That's where people get music," he conceded to Rolling Stone in 2019. (Read more Neil Young stories.)

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