Joni Mitchell said Friday that she’s removing her music from Spotify, joins Neil Young in his protest against the streaming service over its role in providing a platform for Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.
Mitchell, a respected singer-songwriter of songs like “Big Yellow Taxi” and whose landmark album “Blue” just celebrated its 50th anniversary, posted a brief statement on her website on Friday saying she will remove her music from the streaming service. She wrote: “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that cost people their lives. “I stand with Neil Young and the global medical and scientific community on this issue.”
Her statement fueled a small but growing revolt on Spotify, with several major artists speaking out but fans commenting widely on social media. The debate also raised mild questions about how much power artists use to control the distribution of their work and the long-standing conundrum of freedom of expression online.
Spotify beat Young’s music on Wednesday, two days after he posted an open letter calling for it to be deleted in protest at “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Spotify’s most popular podcast, which was criticized for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines. .
He did so after a team of hundreds of scientists, professors and public health experts had asked Spotify to remove an episode of the show Rogan from December 31 that featured Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease expert. Scientists wrote in a public letter that the show promoted “some misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine.”
Mitchell was the first major artist to follow Young, after several days of speculation and rumors on social media.
Young and Mitchell have a deep history together. Both were Canadians who helped lead the singer-songwriter revolution in Southern California in the late 1960s and 1970s.
On Spotify, Mitchell is listed as having 3.7 million monthly streams, with two of her songs – “Big Yellow Taxi” and “A Case of You” – receiving more than 100 million streams.
While several other major artists have spoken out so far, Young’s stance has resonated widely with fans. Twitter is littered with notifications from listeners saying they’re canceling their subscriptions and Screenshots from Spotify’s app shows a message from the customer support team saying they “received many contacts that may be slow to respond”. Spotify has not said how many customers have canceled their subscriptions.
Tech rivals have also entered the fray, with SiriusXM relaunching the Neil Young channel and Apple Music call yourself “Neil Young’s House.”
In one statement on his website on Friday, Young reiterated his opposition to Rogan’s podcast and his appreciation for Spotify’s sound quality. He also said he supports free speech.
“I support freedom of speech. I have never been in favor of censorship,” it said. “Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/arts/joni-mitchell-neil-young-spotify.html Joni Mitchell Plans to Follow Neil Young Off Spotify, Cites ‘Lies’