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Spotify WILL remove Neil Young’s music after singer protested Joe Rogan’s vaccine misinformation

Spotify will remove Neil Young’s music after he demanded that it be removed from the streaming service in a blazing row over vaccine misinformation spread by podcaster Joe Rogan

A representative for Spotify confirmed to Variety that the music is expected to be removed later today. 

‘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 representative told Variety. 

‘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.’

Rogan has not commented on Young’s demand. 

Neil Young has demanded Spotify remove all of his music from their streaming service in a blazing row over vaccine misinformation spread by podcaster Joe Rogan

In the now-deleted online letter, he specifically took aim at comedian and podcaster Rogan, saying: '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'

In the now-deleted online letter, he specifically took aim at comedian and podcaster Rogan, saying: ‘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’

In a now-deleted letter that the singer posted online on Tuesday, he specifically took aim at comedian and podcaster Rogan, who signed a $100 million deal with Spotify in May 2020, giving them exclusive rights to his show The Joe Rogan Experience. 

‘With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE [Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,’ he writes.

‘Spotify has a responsibility 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,’ continued Young, who is married to Blade Runner actress Daryl Hannah, 61.

‘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,’ he adds.  

Young’s Spotify page was still up as of 5.30pm on Wednesday and the folk-rock singer is listed as having 6,086,608 monthly listeners with his most-played song, ‘Heart of Gold,’ raking in 235,931,578 listens. 

Young’s hits also include ‘Harvest Moon,’ ‘Old Man’ and ‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),’ all of which have over 100 million listens on Spotify.

Young’s letter was addressed to Frank Gironda, Young’s manager, and Warner Records, which releases his work through Reprise Records.

Gironda confirmed the letter to the Daily Beast, adding: ‘It’s something that’s really important to Neil. He’s very upset … we’re trying to figure this out right now.’

Politicians, celebrities and bloggers split Twitter in a war of Young vs. Rogan following the news about Young’s actions.

Donald Trump Jr. slammed Young on Twitter, saying that he doesn’t own the rights to his music anymore – which is only partially true. Earlier this month, Young sold 50% of the publishing rights to his entire song catalog to Hipganosis Songs Fund, a UK-based investment fund, in a reportedly $150 million deal.

Trump Jr. shared a photo of Neil Young in former president Donald Trump’s office with the caption: ‘So Neil Young pulled his letter to Spotify because it seems he doesn’t even own his music portfolio anymore & therefore has no control. That checks out because he was in our offices a decade ago trying to sell it. We passed! I know because I think I took this pic in DJTs office!’

‘Neil Young hasn’t listened to a single hour of Rogan’s podcast, and neither have all the NPCs on here obediently expressing their support. Anyone with half a brain who actually listens to Rogan’s show knows the media’s portrayal of what is discussed is malevolently wrong,’ Paul Joseph Watson, a far-right YouTuber, claimed on Twitter.

Conservative blogger Harrison Krank mocked Young for having less of a following on Spotify than Joe Rogan. ‘Neil Young, who has 6,057,481 monthly listeners, thinks he has the influence to bring down Joe Rogan, who has 200 million people listening monthly,’ he tweeted.

Trump-endorsed author Nick Adams shared a similar sentiment, tweeting: ‘Neil Young is 76 years old and hasn’t been relevant in 40 years, but somehow he thinks he can demand Spotify choose between him and the most popular podcast in the world. Joe Rogan is going to win this battle every time.’

Others lauded Neil Young for taking a stand, including feminist and LGBTQ activist Amy Siskind. ‘Neil Young is a hero. That’s all. That’s the tweet,’ she tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

And Rosanna Arquette, actress and daughter of Patricia Arquette, also commended Young and tweeted: ‘I respect Musicians with integrity like Neil Young.’

Meanwhile, the Twitter account for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah joked about Spotify allegedly not paying its artists adequately for their content. ‘Neil Young is gonna regret this when his monthly Spotify checks for $1.37 stop rolling in,’ the tweet read.

Young has been an advocate of the COVID-19 vaccines in the past, most recently when he cancelled his appearance at the Farm Aid concert in August 2021, citing that the event could be a super spreader for the Delta variant at the time. 

Neil Young, who is married to American actress and environmental activist Daryl Hannah (pictured together in 2018), added: '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.'

Neil Young, who is married to American actress and environmental activist Daryl Hannah (pictured together in 2018), added: ‘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.’

A total of 270 experts and medical professionals called on Spotify to adopt a misinformation policy after Joe Rogan (pictured) hosted the controversial Dr Robert Malone last month

Young had previously removed most of his music from Spotify in 2015 over ‘sound quality’ issues, but he ‘ultimately relented,’ returning to Spotify in 2016, Rolling Stone reported.  

“I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution” he wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It’s bad for my music.” He launched his own music streaming platform, called Pono, but shut it down in 2017 as it failed to gain traction. 

Young instead shifted to his own website, Neil Young Archives, which streams his music for between $19.99 (“Classic”) and $99.99 (“Patron”) each year.

Young is not the only artist to pull his music from Spotify. In 2015, Prince also removed his songs from the streaming service in order to negotiate the rights to his music. 

Prince’s music returned to Spotify in 2017 nearly a year after his death in 2016. 

In 2014, Taylor Swift famously removed her music from Spotify, claiming the streaming service did not provide enough money for artists. The singer returned to the service in 2017 after her management agreed to distribute their Spotify revenue from her songs to their other artists.  

Young’s letter is not the first time Spotify has faced criticism for its partnership with Rogan.  

Young’s demand comes just weeks after Spotify was lobbied in a letter by 270 ‘doctors’ to adopt a misinformation policy after the comedian hosted the controversial Dr. Robert Malone. 

However, days after the letter emerged, it was revealed that not all the 270 were, in fact, doctors. 

The letter-signers were made up by engineers, podcasters and teachers, as well as a veterinarian, a dentist, a social worker and several psychologists.

During a three-hour-and-six-minute interview on the now-viral episode #1,757 of The Joe Rogan Experience, Malone compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany and said today’s society was suffering from a ‘mass formation psychosis’ over the use of vaccines.

He also claimed to be part of the team that invented the mRNA technology used in the Covid-19 jab and said pharmaceutical companies administering vaccines – such as Pfizer and Moderna – have ‘financial conflicts of interest.’

Hundreds of medical professionals have fact-checked Malone and demanded accountability from Spotify.

In an open letter, they said: ‘With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.

‘Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.’ 

The letter claims Rogan has a penchant for ‘broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’ and that the episode with Malone promoted ‘baseless conspiracy theories,’ including ‘an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized the public.’  

Rogan also drew fury from Dr. Anthony Fauci in April when he claimed on his podcast that there’s no need for fit, young people to get vaccinated, which the nation’s top infectious disease expert called ‘selfish and ill-informed.’

‘You’re talking about yourself in a vacuum then. You’re worried about yourself getting infected and likelihood that you’re not going to get any symptoms. But you can get infected and will get infected and put yourself at risk,’ Fauci said on the Today Show at the time.

‘And even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak… and you may inadvertently and innocently infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome,’ he continued. 

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