A hot potato: Legendary singer Neil Young is demanding that his music be removed from Spotify, and it's nothing to do with royalties. The musician refuses to share the platform with Joe Rogan, who has long faced criticism for spreading vaccine misinformation on his popular podcast. "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both," he said.
Young's open letter to his manager and record label was posted to his website but has since been deleted. "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 mentioned Joe Rogan in his letter. The Spotify-exclusive Joe Rogan Experience attracts around 11 million listeners per episode, making it the world's largest podcast. It started back on December 24, 2009, long before the music streaming service paid over $100 million to bring it to Spotify in 2020, where it soon became an exclusive show.
"[JRE] 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," Young wrote.
"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," stated the letter, addressed to his manager Frank Gironda, and Tom Corson, co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Records.
Rogan has never been one to shy away from controversial subjects. His views on Covid and the vaccines has brought plenty of criticism: 270 doctors, scientists, and healthcare professionals signed an open letter last month requesting Spotify "take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform." It cited a JRE episode in which Rogan hosted Robert Malone, a virologist involved in developing mRNA vaccine technology. He was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid-19.
Young removed most of his back catalog from Spotify years ago as he believed the sound quality was too low, but he reversed his decision as "That's where people get music."
Young's music is still on Spotify, as is the Joe Rogan Experience.