Neil Young Demands Spotify Remove His Music Over Vaccine Lies
Neil Young has demanded that Spotify remove all of his music from their streaming platform.
UPDATE 1/26/22: Spotify is removing Young's music. The company issued a statement noting, "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-19 since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon."
“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,” the rocker wrote in an open letter to his management and record label, relayed by Rolling Stone. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young continued, referencing the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience which has come under fire for vaccine misinformation promoted by its host and guests.
This isn’t the first time Young has removed his material from the streaming site. In 2015, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer pulled his songs from Spotify and other platforms in protest of low streaming audio quality. “I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution,” he said at the time. “I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It’s bad for my music.”
Young later returned his catalog to major streaming sites, including Spotify, in 2016.
The famed singer-songwriter has been a vocal advocate for vaccinations throughout the COVID pandemic. Young has previously declared that he will not return to touring until he and his audiences can feel safe at the shows. "I don't want to put people in danger," he explained in December 2021. "I don't want people to see me out there and think I think everything is OK. I don't think everything is OK."
Rogan, meanwhile, has been a lightning rod for controversy, especially as it relates to the pandemic. In December 2021, 270 doctors, scientists and medical experts signed an open letter asking Spotify to pull The Joe Rogan Experience due to the host’s “baseless conspiracy theories” and “concerning history of broadcasting misinformation.” Spotify is the exclusive home of the podcast.