Spotify Takes Down Neil Young’s Music After He Demanded the Streaming Service Remove Joe Rogan

Spotify acted quickly when the folk-music rock star threatened with an ultimatum to remove the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, or lose Young’s music.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Spotify Technology SA confirmed Wednesday it will remove Neil Young’s music, after the folk-rock star issued a now-deleted message to his management team and record label insisting they “refuse the music streaming service access to his catalog of albums until they cut ties with podcast host Joe Rogan.”
  • The “Heart of Gold” and “Harvest Moon” singer had alleged that Spotify had been spreading “misinformation” about Covid-19 vaccines by running Rogan’s show on its platform.
  • “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” Young wrote. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”
  • “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,” the letter continued. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
  • Mr. Young’s record label, Warner Music Group Corp.’s Warner Records, formally requested Spotify remove the music Wednesday, which could take several hours to take effect across Spotify’s service across the world, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule,” Young wrote.
WHAT SPOTIFY SAID:
  • “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 said Wednesday, as the company detailed content policies in place and has removed over 20,000 Covid-19-related podcast episodes since the start of the pandemic, WSJ notes.
  • “We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the Spotify.
BACKGROUND:
  • Young famously fought MTV at the height of the cable network’s power back in 1988, The Los Angeles Times noted.
  • “Joe Rogan has a very strong, loyal following,” said Nadi Filsoof, a senior executive at representation firm Underscore Talent, adding that dropping Rogan “outweighs the risk based on the potential loss of dropping Neil Young.”