It’s been quite a turbulent time for Spotify, with artists vowing to remove their music catalogues from the platform amid the Neil Young and Joe Rogan controversy.
In case you missed it, music legend Neil Young threatened to remove his music from Spotify in light of Joe Rogan’s recent podcast that featured COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
The ‘Old Man’ singer penned an open letter to the platform, in which he said the streaming service “can have (Joe) Rogan or Young. Not both”.
The Grammy award-winning musician posted a now-deleted open letter on his website.
“Please immediately inform Spotify that I am actively canceling all my music availability on Spotify as soon as possible,” the letter began. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”
He added: “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule. I want you to let Spotify know immediately today that I want all of my music off their platform. They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Rogan’s podcast has come under fire for continually doubting the vaccine and openly encouraging young fans not to take the vaccine.
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In 2020, the podcast made an exclusive deal with Spotify reported to be worth $100 million.
“I realised I could not continue to support Spotify’s life-threatening misinformation to the music-loving public,” wrote Young.
“Before I told my friends at Warner Bros about my desire to leave the Spotify platform, I was reminded by my own legal forces that contractually I did not have the control of my music to do that. I announced I was leaving anyway, because I knew I was.”
“I was prepared to do all I could and more just to make sure that happened. I want to thank my truly great and supportive record company Warner Brothers – Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify. Thank you!”
Now, as the hashtag #CancelSpotify grows momentum across social media, a number of other artists have followed suit by removing their entire catalogues from the streaming platform in support of Young.
Joni Mitchell followed Neil Young in declaring that she, too, would be removing her music from Spotify.
In her statement, Mitchell referred to both Young’s letter and the petition posted and backed by 270 scientists, professors, and medical professionals who shared an open letter with Spotify on New Years Eve requesting for the streaming giant to implement a misinformation policy.
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” the ‘Help Me’ singer wrote.
“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
Guitarist Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band announced that he had also decided to pull over two decades worth of music from Spotify.
“Neil and I go back 53 years,” Lofgren said in a statement on his website.
“We encourage all musicians, artists, and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify. … Pick up your sword and start swinging! Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!), and others. It’s a powerful action YOU can all take NOW, to honor truth, humanity and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.”
Bestselling author Brené Brown — who recently nabbed an exclusive deal with the platform — announced that she would ve stalling her podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead after Young announced his plans to leave the platform.
“I will not be releasing any podcasts until further notice,” Brown tweeted.
“To our #UnlockingUs and #DaretoLead communities, I’m sorry and I’ll let you know if and when that changes. Stay awkward, brave, and kind.”
The alternative rockers has pulled their music from the streaming platform, citing both the recent controversy and the continuing low pay for artists. Spotify has “been a scam for artists since the beginning,” they said in a statement, adding that they “simply cannot square Spotify’s insistence on spreading misinformation about something that directly endangers our band’s supply chain.”
Not a surprising one given his long history with Neil Young, the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young member has backed up his old bandmate by leaving Spotify. “Having heard the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify, I completely agree with and support my friend, Neil Young,” Nash explained in a statement. “There is a difference between being open to varying viewpoints on a matter and knowingly spreading false information which some 270 medical professionals have derided not only false but dangerous.”
R&B star Arie shared a statement on social media explaining that she’s removing her work from Spotify because Young “opened a door that I must walk through,” and that she finds Rogan problematic because of his “language about race.”
David Crosby and Stephen Stills
It’s now a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion. Those three have joined in solidarity with Young in support of stopping harmful misinformation about COVID-19 by removing their records from the streaming platform. That includes recordings of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Crosby & Nash, as well as Crosby and Stills’s solo projects. Nash has already started the process of removing his own solo projects.
“We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify’s Joe Rogan podcast,” they explained in a unified statement. “While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences. Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don’t want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform.”
The filmmaker’s production company Array has stopped doing business with Spotify. A spokesperson for the Oscar nominee confirmed the first-look deal has been pulled, despite just being signed over a year ago. No actual projects from Array had made it to the streaming platform yet.
For more on this topic, head over to the Classic Rock Observer.