Spotify removed Neil Young’s music from its platform Wednesday after the company refused to bow to the enduring singer/songwriter’s demands to stop offering to listeners episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) on its platform.
The perpetually-prickly “Old Man” singer somewhat publicly expressed outrage yesterday at podcaster Joe Rogan by posting a letter to his own manager and record company on NeilYoungArchives.com, which was quickly deleted, demanding Spotify choose between continuing to stream his albums or continuing to stream JRE.
Spotify decided to stick with Rogan’s show – not a big shock considering the company signed JRE to a 2020 deal worth more than $100 million – and as of this writing, Young’s music, including his new album, “Barn,” no longer appear on the platform.
The dustup started when a JRE episode featured Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who says he is one of the inventors of mRNA technology – Malone recently was banned from Twitter for spreading false information – who claimed people who received a Covid vaccine are experiencing “mass formation psychosis” and are hypnotized.
Young’s letter said he wanted his songs and albums removed because JRE episodes cast “fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”
“They can have Rogan or Young but not both,” Young’s letter said.
On January 12, Rolling Stone published a story titled, “A Menace to Public Health” Doctors Demand Spotify Put an End to Covid Lies on Joe Rogan Experience,” detailing how 270 doctors, physicians, and science educators signed an open letter to Spotify to take action against JRE spreading “misinformation on the platform.” Spotify employees also in the past expressed concern about content on Rogan’s show.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Young’s record company, Warner Records, requested formally that Spotify remove the “Harvest Moon” singer’s music, and the streaming service apparently obliged.
The newspaper also noted that classic rock tunes, like Young’s entire catalog, are some of the most streamed in the industry.
Young recently sold 50 percent of his songwriting catalog to investment firm Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ltd. reportedly for between $40 million and $50 million. Those investors surely would receive royalties from Young’s music being streamed on Spotify, but no word on exactly how much the firm, or Young, actually receives.