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Spotify agrees to remove Neil Young’s music after criticising Joe Rogan podcast

Young has accused the podcast of spreading Covid-19 misinformation

By Charlotte Krol

Neil Young and Joe Rogan pictured in a composite image
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both" (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH; YouTube/PowerfulJRE)

Spotify has granted Neil Young’s wish that it removes his music after he accused it of spreading Covid-19 misinformation via Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Young has claimed that ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, which is Spotify‘s most popular podcast with an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, has featured “fake information about vaccines”.

The musician wrote an open letter earlier this week demanding that Spotify take action against the podcast or he will it ask to pull all of his songs.

In the letter seen by The Guardian, which was addressed to his manager Frank Gironda and Warner Records co-chairman Tom Corson, Young wrote: “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.”

Yesterday (January 26) Spotify responded to Young’s request, confirming that they would proceed with culling his music – implicitly in favour of Rogan’s podcast.

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)

A Spotify spokesperson issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “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.”

They added: “We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”

Elsewhere in the letter that Young initially shared online and then deleted, he accused Rogan of spreading “fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them”.

He said that Spotify has a “responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy”.

Earlier this month medical professionals wrote an open letter to Spotify in which they expressed concern about coronavirus misinformation on the platform, pointing to Rogan’s podcast.

Rogan is a comedian, TV presenter and MMA commentator who launched his award-winning podcast in 2009.

Veteran folk and rock musician, Young, meanwhile, released his latest album ‘Barn’ in December with his band Crazy Horse.