Spotify Sides With Joe Rogan, Drops Neil Young After He Backs Medical Experts And Scientists

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Thomas Trutschel / The Logo of streeming service Spotify is displayed on the screen of a smartphone on January 21, 2016 in Berlin, Germany
The Logo of streeming service Spotify is displayed on the screen of a smartphone on January 21, 2016 in Berlin, Germany - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.01.2022
Stockholm-based company Spotify confirmed Wednesday that they removed the folk-rock star Neil Young after he wrote an open letter to his manager and label asking for permission to have his music removed from the streaming service, which he deems responsible for spreading misinformation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter that was posted publicly, Young said Spotify had become a “very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID.” He pointed out that a majority of listeners on Spotify are “young people” who are impressionable and are more susceptible to misinformation.
In the letter he writes, “Spotify represents 60% of the streaming of my music to listeners around the world, almost every record I have ever released is available- [...] -a huge loss for my record company to absorb. Yet my friends at Warner Brothers Reprise stood with me, recognizing the threat the COVID misinformation on Spotify posed to the world- particularly for young people who think everything they hear on Spotify is true. Unfortunately it is not.”
“It’s something that’s really important to Neil. He’s very upset about disinformation,” Young’s manager Frank Gironda told the Daily Beast earlier this week,
The righteous move by Young comes after hundreds of scientists, professors, and public health professionals asked Spotify to develop a policy to handle misinformation surrounding COVID-19. Some social media companies have already taken steps in doing so. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter all have independent COVID-19 misinformation policies.
The health experts published a public letter online in which they condemned an episode from “The Joe Rogan Experience” which featured Dr. Robert Malone. They noted that this particular episode, as well as others from Rogan’s podcast, promoted conspiracy theories and misinformation regarding COVID-19.
Dr. Robert Malone was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about the Pfizer vaccine. YouTube, which is owned by Google, also removed the episode in question, a year after it pledged to remove all misinformation regarding vaccines. While on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Malone compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust.
Joe Rogan himself has also discouraged vaccination, claimed mRNA vaccines are gene therapy, and promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 against the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations. Ivermectin is for treating infections which are caused by parasites.
In the end of their letter, the medical professionals wrote, “[This] is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform.”
Cue Neil Young, the 76 year-old rock star who backs medical professionals and condemns the spread of misinformation. In a righteous move, he wrote a letter to his management, 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.”
But Spotify, which has more than 299 million listeners a month, had already invested in a $100 million deal with Joe Rogan, and his podcast is the most popular for American, British, and Canadian listeners. While Spotify loses money every time someone streams Young, they bring in more revenue with Rogan, making the decision to drop Young and keep Rogan slightly more palatable.
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