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Neil Young encourages Spotify employees to quit over Joe Rogan scandal

"Get out of that place before it eats up your soul"

By Will Richards

Neil Young and The Promise of the Real performing at British Summertime 2019, Hyde Park in London.
Neil Young and The Promise of the Real performing at British Summertime 2019, Hyde Park in London (Picture: AP)

Neil Young has encouraged members of staff at Spotify to quit the company as his high-profile boycott of the streaming service continues.

Last month, Young announced his intention to pull his music from the streaming platform, over COVID-19 misinformation shared on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, Spotify’s most-listened to podcast, saying: “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Since then, Young’s compatriot Joni Mitchell and Crazy Horse bandmate Nils Lofgren are among many others to have joined him in leaving Spotify.

“I don’t always get it right,” Rogan said in response. “I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.” Rogan first took his podcast to Spotify in 2020, signing an exclusivity deal understood to be worth around $100 million.

In an open letter on his website published yesterday (February 7), Young urged Spotify employees to “take the good road” in quitting the company.

He wrote: “To the workers of Spotify, I say Daniel Ek is your big problem – not Joe Rogan. Ek pulls the strings.”

“Get out of the place before it eats up your soul,” he added. The only goals stated by Ek are about numbers – not art, not creativity. Notice that Ek never mentions the medical professionals who started this conversation. Look, one last time – at the statements Ek has made.”

A person holds their smartphone with the Spotify icon on the screen
(Picture: Pexels/ cottonbro).

CEO Daniel Ek recently sent an internal memo to Spotify employees that said he “strongly condemns” Rogan’s language but added that “silencing” him was not the answer.

Elsewhere, a rock group is set to release an album consisting of 1,000 songs at 30 seconds long, in response to Spotify’s royalty rates.

St Albans band The Pocket Gods will release ‘1000×30 – Nobody Makes Money Anymore’ next Friday to protest the streaming service’s model that means revenue is only activated after a song has been played for 30 seconds.

“I saw the article and it made me think, ‘Why write longer songs when we get paid little enough for just 30 seconds?’,” band frontman Mark Christopher Lee told i News.

He said they earn around £0.002 from each Spotify stream, and said they were effectively “giving away” the extra two minutes and 30 seconds of a song for free.

“We wrote and recorded 1,000 songs, each a shade over 30 seconds long for the album. The longest is 36 seconds,” Lee continued. “It is designed to raise awareness about the campaign for fair royalty rates.”