American-Canadian singer Neil Young followed through on his threat: after accusing Spotify of misinformation about Covid-19 by hosting the podcast of the popular and controversial Joe Rogan, he confirmed, on Wednesday January 26, his spectacular decision to withdraw his music from the streaming platform.
“I want to thank my very large and supportive record label Warner Brothers-Reprise Records for supporting me in my decision to remove all my music from Spotify”, wrote the 76-year-old musician on his website, noting that the platform represents 60% of his income generated by streaming.
Neil Young has 2.4 million subscribers and more than 6 million listeners per month on Spotify, the world leader in music streaming. But Joe Rogan’s podcast, exclusive content from the Swedish platform, which racks up millions of plays, was number one on Spotify in 2021.
“Spotify has become a place for potentially deadly Covid misinformation. Lies sold for money”, asserts Neil Young in his message.
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both »
The prolific singer, known for his titles Heart of Gold and Harvest Moon, also cites a letter from more than 200 doctors and scientists, who recently asked the platform to act after an episode “very controversial” from “The Joe Rogan Experience” (JRE), airing December 31, 2021. “This episode is criticized for promoting baseless conspiracy theories and the JRE has a disturbing history of spreading false information, particularly regarding the Covid-19 pandemic”, they wrote.
“We removed more than 20 000 episodes of Covid-related podcasts since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but we hope to welcome him back soon”, also confirmed a spokesperson for the platform, quoted by several American media.
The popular Joe Rogan, whose contract signed with Spotify in 2021 is estimated at 100 million dollars (89 million euros), is accused of having discouraged vaccination among young people and of having pushed for the use ofan unauthorized treatment, ivermectin, against the coronavirus.
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both », said Neil Young, whose last album, Barn, was released at the end of 2021. The career-long folk-rock singer had said he hoped other artists and record labels would follow suit.