Spotify removes Neil Young’s music after complaining about Joe Rogan

Neil Young doesn’t cheat.

Spotify confirmed on Wednesday that it had begun removing Young’s music from the streaming service, two days after the star briefly posted public letter called on Spotify to choose between him and Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host who has been accused of spreading misinformation about coronavirus and vaccines.

Young’s challenge to Spotify has become a prominent, if unexpected, focus in the fight against misinformation and free speech online. It also raises questions about the power of performers to control where their work is heard.

In a second The statement was posted on his website on Wednesday, Young called Spotify “the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation.” He added: “Lies are sold for money.”

His criticism of Rogan – a comedian and actor who became the host of Spotify’s most popular podcast, sometimes at length with controversial figures – came after a group hundreds of scientists, professors and public health experts. asked Spotify to remove an episode of Rogan’s show from December 31. That episode, which featured Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease expert, promoted “some of the vaccine misinformation.” Covid-19,” according to the group’s public letter, released in January. ten.

In a statement on Wednesday, Spotify said: “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes a great responsibility in balancing both the safety of the listeners and the freedom for the creators. We have a detailed content policy, and we’ve removed more than 20,000 episodes of Covid-related podcasts since the pandemic began. ”

“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify,” the service added, “but hope to welcome him back soon.”

Young’s most popular songs, such as “Heart of Gold,” “Harvest Moon,” and “Old Man,” have been radio station themes for decades and have garnered hundreds of millions of streams. on Spotify. In his statement on Wednesday, Young said that Spotify represents 60% of his music streams around the world.

Young’s music is expected to be completely removed from Spotify within hours. News of the service removing his songs was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In the original letter Young sent to Warner Records and his manager, he said: “Spotify has a responsibility to reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform. I want you to notify Spotify immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform.”

He added: “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

That letter was removed from Young’s website shortly after it was posted, although it did attract media attention.

Rogan, a comedian and actor, signed an exclusive podcast deal with Spotify in 2020, reportedly worth $100 million, though Spotify hasn’t confirmed that figure. His show is the most loved on Spotify.

Spotify has defended Rogan in the past, including after an episode featuring conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in 2020.

“We want creators to be creative,” said Daniel Ek, CEO and co-founder of Spotify, told The Financial Times afterward. “That’s what they do best. We don’t want to play any role in what they should say. “

Spotify has 318 million monthly listeners around the world, including 172 million paying subscriptions, according to the company’s most recent financial disclosure.

Previously, Young deleted his music from streaming services, only to quietly restore it. In 2015, after complaining about the sound quality while streaming, he take down his music from all the major audio streaming services, including Spotify and its biggest rival, Apple Music. But it was re-added shortly after.

Jenny Gross contribution report. Spotify removes Neil Young’s music after complaining about Joe Rogan

Fry Electronics Team

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