Earlier this week Neil Young wrote an open letter to Spotify instructing them to either kick Joe Rogan off the platform or stop streaming his songs. "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," wrote Young. "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both."
Spotify chose to keep Rogan. No surprise there. While Young's music is incredibly popular, Spotify has a $100 million contract with Rogan, who regularly disseminates Covid misinformation to 11 million listeners on his Spotify podcast.
A Spotify spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter:
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.
In a statement on his website, Young said 60% of his streaming revenue had come from Spotify:
Before I told my friends at Warner Bros about my desire to leave the SPOTIFY platform, I was reminded by my own legal forces that contractually I did not have the control of my music to do that. I announced I was leaving anyway, because I knew I was. I was prepared to do all I could and more just to make sure that happened.
I want to thank my truly great and supportive record company Warner Brothers – Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify. Thank You!
Spotify represents 60% of the streaming of my music to listeners around the world, almost every record I have ever released is available – my life's music – 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 our young people who think everything they hear on SPOTIFY is true. Unfortunately it is not.
Thank you WARNER BROTHERS for standing with me and taking the hit – losing 60% of my world wide streaming income in the name of Truth.