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Spotify plans to remove Neil Young’s music from its streaming platform after the musician delivered an ultimatum over Joe Rogan’s podcast

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

  • Spotify is pulling Neil Young’s music from its streaming service, the Wall Street Journal reported. 
  • Young had requested his music be removed in response to Joe Rogan’s podcast on Spotify.
  • Health professionals also sent a letter asking the streamer to mitigate Rogan’s spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

Spotify is working on removing Neil Young’s music catalog from its streaming platform, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, after the musician threatened to pull his music over COVID -19 misinformation.

Spotify’s decision comes less than a week after the “Heart of Gold” musician penned an open letter to his producers and record label, accusing the Spotify of spreading COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation via “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young said in a memo since deleted from his website, according to Rolling Stone. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Rogan has remained a controversial figure in media, with his podcast criticized for pushing COVID misinformation and conspiracies to his large audience.

Despite removing several episodes of the podcast, Spotify has mostly taken a “hands-off” approach with Rogan, whose show was the platform’s most popular podcast in 2021 according to Spotify. The property is lucrative for the company, who signed an estimated $100 million deal in 2020 to bring the popular show exclusively to its service.

“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,” a Spotify spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. “The company has detailed content policies in place and has removed over 20,000 COVID-related podcast episodes since the start of the pandemic,” the spokesperson added.

“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the spokesperson said.

Insider reached out to Spotify and Young’s label, Warner Music Group, for further comment, but neither have replied yet.

Young is not the only one to point Spotify’s role in the spread of COVID misinformation. Earlier this month, a group of 270 health and medical professionals sent an open letter to the company, calling for a better handling over the spread of misinformation on the streaming service. The letter directly references a recent interview on Rogan’s podcast and its baseless claims that US citizens were “hypnotized” into wearing masks.

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