“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
When asked to choose between Joe Rogan and Neil Young, Spotify is standing behind its most popular podcaster.
Faced with an ultimatum from Young, the streaming service has opted to remove the legendary singer-songwriter’s musical library instead of taking down episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience.
Spotify obtained the exclusive rights to host Rogan’s podcast in a $100 million, multi-year deal. Meanwhile, Young will lose 60 percent of his streaming income.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” a spokesperson for the company told the Wall Street Journal.
“With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators.”
The spokesperson added that Spotify has removed more than 20,000 COVID-related podcast episodes since the start of the pandemic.
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the spokesperson added.
In a now-deleted post on his website, the “Heart of Gold” singer asked his managers and record label to remove his music from Spotify because he said the platform is “spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe this disinformation spread by them.”
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” the 76-year-old Young said in Monday’s post. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
“Losing 60% of worldwide streaming income by leaving Spotify is a very big deal, a costly move, but worth it for our integrity and beliefs. Misinformation about COVID is over the line,” Young added.
“I sincerely hope that other artists can make a move, but I can’t really expect that to happen,” Young said. “I did this because I had no choice in my heart. It is who I am. I am not censoring anyone. I am speaking my own truth.”
A controversial recent Joe Rogan Experience episodes featured Dr. Robert Malone, an “anti-vaxx” medical doctor and immunologist who has been accused of pushing debunked claims about COVID-19. Malone is also credited as playing a key part in developing the mRNA technology now used in COVID-19 vaccines.
YouTube removed the episode, in which Malone compared the climate surrounding the current state of public health in the U.S. to 1920s and 1930s Germany.