Spotify Under Fire After Neil Young's Boycott of Platform Over Joe Rogan Controversy
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Thomas Trutschel / The Logo of streeming service Spotify is displayed on the screen of a smartphone on January 21, 2016 in Berlin, Germany
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Thomas Trutschel /
Neil Young, a classic American-Canadian rock singer, has withdrawn his entire music catalog from the streaming service Spotify in protest over the platform hosting Joe Rogan's podcast. The musician blasted the podcast for spreading vaccine misinformation and asserted that Spotify "can have Rogan or Young. Not both."
The backlash faced by Spotify in the wake of the conflict between Neil Young and Joe Rogan is apparently being fuelled by figures like the head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and another musician, Joni Mitchell.
The latter, for her part, announced that she is willing to join Young's boycott of Spotify. Mitchell said she is seeking to withdraw her music from the platform in a letter titled "I Stand With Neil Young" posted on her website.
"Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,'' Mitchell said. "I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.''
Among those supporting Young's move was the director of the World Health Organisation.
"[Neil Young], thanks for standing up against misinformation and inaccuracies around COVID-19 vaccination," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted on Thursday. "Public and private sector, in particular social media platforms, media, individuals - we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic."
Peter Frampton, another rock musician, has also weighed in to support Young, saying that he has "always been an Apple guy for streaming." However, his music catalog is still available on Spotify as of Saturday.
Good for you Neil.— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) January 28, 2022
I’ve always been an Apple guy for streaming. No Joe Rogan for me thank you! @neilyoung @SpotifyUSA
Young had earlier requested that Spotify remove all his music from the platform, rolling out an ultimatum: either the streaming service has his music or Joe Rogan's podcast. And Spotify sided with Rogan, who is one of the platform's biggest stars.
The podcast host is no stranger to being at the centre of controversies, as he is often accused of misinformation or even hate speech. This time, Young blasted his "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast as “potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread.”
The move to boycott Spotify, which, as Young himself acknowledged, “represents 60 percent” of his music globally, posed a great financial risk to him and his label. However, he underlined he is still "happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”
"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," he said in one of his open letters.
However, Young is not the only one who may face financial consequences from his decision, as users noted how Spotify's stocks plummetted more than 25 percent following the scandal.
Spotify is down more than 25% since Joe Rogan ramped up his attacks of the vaccine on their platform… they paid him $100 million for this #SpotifyDeleted pic.twitter.com/Ws6VN7E5NZ— LeGate (@williamlegate) January 27, 2022
Rogan has not commented on the controversy.