Joe Rogan, a polarizing character. Some, like Aaron Rodgers or your cousin Kyle who failed high school science, believe he’s a beacon of smart ideas. Others look at Joe Rogan and wonder how the host of Fear Factor was able to garner so much credibility. Neil Young, well – it’s pretty clear where he stands on Joe Rogan (and don’t say “At least four inches taller?“, we’re not here to make those kinds of jokes). On Monday, Neil Young, who believes in COVID-19 vaccines, posted an open letter to his personal website declaring his intention to pull all his music if Spotify didn’t finally do something about the unsubstantiated COVID claims Joe Rogan makes on their platform. Spotify took Neil up on his offer and removed most of his songs.
The Joe Rogan Experience is a huge podcast with a massive listenership, so naturally, Neil was concerned about how many people were gobbling up horse paste or throwing out their masks at Joe’s insistence. Well, a Spotify spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Neil’s music has been scrubbed from its platform:
“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. 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.”
Uproxx adds that all of Neil’s solo LPs are off Spotify but his albums with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are still available.
Neil Young posted a follow-up letter to his website yesterday. In it, he wrote that Spotify accounts for about 60% of his streaming revenue and that his record company was going to take a huge hit from the decision to remove his songs from Spotify. But, money or no money, Neil couldn’t continue to keep his music on a platform that was actively spreading “life threatening misinformation.”
“I truly want to thank the many, many people who have reached out to me thanking me for taking this position – people who are health professionals on the front lines, people who have lost loved ones to COVID or who are worried for their own children and families. I have never felt so much love coming from so many. I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the Spotify platform and stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about COVID.”
Neil Young knows a thing or two about deadly infectious diseases; he’s a polio survivor. And Joe Rogan is someone who used to be on News Radio and buys his shirts one size too small.
Well, now people will only be able to hear Neil Young’s music on Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Neil Young’s online archives, SiriusXM, YouTube, literally any classic rock radio station, the home of any person who owns a vintage record collection, or from about 87% of middle-aged dad’s cars. Some of Spotify’s competitors jumped on the news of Neil pulling his music with jokes.
Who all new here pic.twitter.com/BdjwsaiX7X
— TIDAL (@TIDAL) January 27, 2022
— SiriusXM (@SIRIUSXM) January 27, 2022
It’s important to point out that Spotify did a $100 million multi-year deal with Joe Rogan, so it was unlikely they’d dump their little cash cow. But will they say anything to Joe? I mean, it’s not a good look when one of rock’s most iconic artists is willing to take a 60% loss in the name of public health ethics. Maybe they’ll give Joe a slap on the wrist. But not the wrist he uses to plug in his laptop microphone. Spotify needs those sweet, sweet downloads and advertising dollars!