Spotify removes Neil Young’s songs after his disapproval of COVID-19 misinformation

By Grace Koennecke, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Spotify announced that they would be taking Neil Young’s songs off of their platform, two days after the singer posted a brief letter calling on the streaming service to choose between him and podcaster Joe Rogan, who has contributed to the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus and its accompanying vaccines. 

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In a statement on his personal website that was later taken down, Young said Spotify is “the home of life threatening COVID misinformation” that produces “lies being sold for money.” Outraged by Spotify’s decision to remove his music catalog and not the controversial podcast episodes Rogan has produced, Young announced fans could now find his music through his own streaming platform Neil Young Archives on SiriusXM weekly.

In response to Young’s comments, Spotify said Wednesday that they “want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” but that the streaming service is responsible for maintaining the balancing act of promoting safety for listeners and freedom for users and creators. So far, the platform has removed 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, the platform has not cut ties with Rogan despite his opinions on the pandemic, even supporting the podcaster in the past. In 2020, chief executive and co-founder of Spotify Daniel Elk told The Financial Times that creators like Rogan who produce thought-provoking content “is what they do best” and they’re “not looking to play a role in what they should say.” 

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