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Neil Young's Music Removed From Spotify As Streaming Giant Backs Joe Rogan Following Covid Ultimatum

by : Hannah Smith on :
Neil Young's Music Removed From Spotify As Streaming Giant Backs Joe Rogan Following Covid Ultimatum
Neil Young's Music Removed From Spotify As Streaming Giant Backs Joe Rogan Following Covid Ultimatum (Alamy)

Spotify has said it is removing Neil Young's music, after the singer said he would refuse to share a platform with Joe Rogan.

In an open letter issued yesterday, January 26, Young said he did not want his music to be available on the streaming service which hosts The Joe Rogan Experience – a hugely popular podcast that has frequently promoted vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories.

'I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,' he said in the letter, which was addressed to his record label and has since been deleted from social media.

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Neil Young (Alamy)
Neil Young (Alamy)

Young continued, 'With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.'

Following the publication of the letter, Spotify confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that it had begun the process of removing Young's music.

The streaming giant said in a statement: 'We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.'

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The Joe Rogan Experience is Spotify's number one ranked podcast, with the Swedish-founded platform having signed an exclusive rights deal with the controversial host worth around $100 million in 2020.

Joe Rogan (Alamy)
Joe Rogan (Alamy)
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Rogan has been repeatedly criticised for spreading anti-vax misinformation, and last year was the subject of further media controversy when star NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he had consulted Rogan when deciding not to get vaccinated and to take the horse dewormer medicine ivermectin.

He has also been accused of comparing Covid-19 vaccine passports to the Holocaust.

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Young's ultimatum came after a group of 270 doctors, scientists and medical professionals wrote to Spotify expressing concerns over Rogan's podcast, telling the platform, 'This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform.'

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism and culture.

Topics: News, Joe Rogan, Music