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Neil Young returns to Spotify two years after leaving over Joe Rogan’s vaccine comments

The singer has relented now that the platform is no longer the exclusive home of The Joe Rogan Experience

By Andy Greene

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 is placing his music back on Spotify a little over two years after pulling it due to misinformation about vaccines on The Joe Rogan Experience. The streaming platform used to be the exclusive home of Rogan, but they recently inked a $250 million deal with the podcaster that will make the show available on other platforms.

“My decision comes as other music services, Apple, Amazon, Qobuz, Tidal, all high res, have started serving the same disinformation podcast I had opposed at Spotify,” Young wrote to fans on The Neil Young Archives. “Because I cannot leave all those services like I did Spotify, because my music would have no streaming outlet to music lovers at all, I have returned.”

This doesn’t mean Young is happy with Spotify. His letter repeatedly hammers them for continuing to use low resolution audio files. “[I have] sincere hopes that Spotify sound quality will improve and people will be able to hear and feel all the music as we made it,” he wrote. “Hopefully Spotify will return to Hi Res as the answer and serve all the music to everyone. Spotify, you can do it! Really be #1 in all ways. You have the music and the listeners!!! Start with a limited hi res tier and build from there!”

Young originally pulled his music from spotify in January 2022. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines,” he wrote, “potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”

In response, Rogan said that he was a longtime fan of Neil Young, and had no desire to hurt anybody despite repeatedly questioning the safety and effectiveness of Covid vaccines to his massive audience. “I’m not trying to promote misinformation,” he said at the time. “I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people… I do not know if they’re right. I don’t know because I’m not a doctor; I’m not a scientist. I’m just a person who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them.”

At press time, Young’s music had not reappeared back on Spotify.