This is everything you need to know.
Why has Spotify removed Neil Young’s music?
Spotify has removed Young’s music from its platform after the musician called for the company to remove content from the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience due to the vaccine and Covid misinformation spread by the podcaster.
In an open letter posted on his website, Young said that Spotify could have “Rogan or Young. Not Both”.
The letter, which was addressed to his manager and record label, Young wrote: “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.
“Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
Young specifically named Rogan and his podcast, which was acquired by Spotify in 2020, reportedly for more than $100 million dollars (£77m).
He said: “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.
“Spotify has a responsibility to to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.
“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.”
Since the removal of his music from Spotify, Young plugged Amazon Music to his fans who are looking to continue listening to his music.
He wrote: “All my fans who are looking for my music should use this link amazonmusic.com/neilyoung for the US (or amazonmusic/ca/neilyoung for Canada etc). All new listeners to Amazon Music will automatically get four months free.
“Amazon has been leading the pack in bringing Hi-Res audio to the masses, and it’s a great place to enjoy my entire catalog in the highest quality available.”
What has Spotify said?
Spotify initially said that it “regrets” Young’s decision to remove his music from the platform over the spread of coronavirus misinformation when his music was first pulled.
The streaming giant said it tried to achieve balance and had removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic and hoped to welcome Young back soon.
Spotify said it aimed to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators”.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” the company said in a statement.
“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.
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon”.
Spotify has since said that it will be adding Covid-19 content advisory labels.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said: “It is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them.
“Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unpresedented time.
“These issues are incredibly complex. We’ve heard you - especially those from the medical and scientific communities.”
Ek said that the Covid-19 advisory labels will take listeners to a dedicated Covid-19 page which will host all the latest news and information regarding the virus and ongoing pandemic.
What has Joe Rogan said about Covid?
Rogan has received significant criticisms for the misinformation that’s been spread through his podcast in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recently, over 200 doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals and professors penned an open letter to Spotify, raising their own concerns about the misinformation being spread on Rogan’s podcast.
The letter read: “This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform.”
Both that letter and Young’s specifically drew attention to an episode of the podcast where Rogan interviewed Dr Robert Malone, a virologist who worked on the early research into the mRNA technology that’s behind several Covid vaccines, but who is now critical of them.
In the episode, Malone claimed that the vaccines put people who have already had Covid-19 at a higher risk - something which fact checkers have strongly disputed. Malone also drew comparisons between the pandemic and the rise of the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
Malone has since been banned from Twitter over the spread of misinformation.
Rogan has also been criticised for claiming that young and healthy people don’t need the Covid-19 vaccine, and also for promoting the use of ivermectin as a treatment against the virus, a deworming veterinary drug that is formulated for use in cows and horses.
Has Joe Rogan responded to Neil Young?
In a clip posted on his Instagram account, Rogan responded to the controversies surrounding Spotify and its affiliation with his podcast.
He said: “I don’t always get it right. I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.”
Rogan also added that it is a “strange responsibility to have this many viewers and listeners”, but that he would “do my best in the future to balance things out”.
He went on to say that he is a “Neil Young fan” and that he is “very sorry” that the musician felt so strongly about the content of his podcast.
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