Saturday, December 2

Neil Young demands Spotify remove his music over Joe Rogan’s vaccine comments

Neil Young has demanded that Spotify Technology TO

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remove your music due to what you say is vaccine misinformation spread by podcaster Joe Rogan on the streaming service.

Mr. Young, whose hits including “Heart of Gold” and “Harvest Moon” have garnered hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify, wrote an open letter to his manager and record label criticizing Mr. Rogan and Spotify. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines, which could kill those who believe the misinformation is being spread by them,” he wrote. The letter has since been removed from his website.

Young was not immediately available for comment.

The letter came in response to “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, which is currently Spotify’s most popular podcast and also beats Apple.‘s

podcast graphics. In 2020, Mr. Rogan signed an exclusive podcasting deal with Spotify, reportedly worth more than $100 million.

“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has enormous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company does not currently have a misinformation policy,” Young wrote in the letter. “I want you to tell Spotify immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform… They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Joe Rogan has used his podcast to talk about Covid-19 vaccines and restrictions.


Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Spotify and Joe Rogan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Young’s letter cited an episode of the podcast in which Rogan spoke with Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who has worked on researching several mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 but is now critical of the treatments. Among the claims made was the suggestion that hospitals have been financially motivated to falsely diagnose the deaths as being caused by Covid-19.

Mr. Rogan has regularly used his podcast to discuss Covid-19 vaccines and restrictions, criticizing vaccine mandates for indoor events and suggesting that young, healthy people should not be vaccinated.

Spotify’s bid for Mr. Rogan’s show has caused the streaming audio company problems in the past. Some employees raised concerns about the podcast’s content during a town hall meeting in September 2020, regarding material they viewed as anti-transgender, according to people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, a group of 270 scientists and health professionals signed an open letter to Spotify accusing the podcast of “promoting baseless conspiracy theories” and calling on the service to take action against mass misinformation events on its platform. .

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread false and misleading claims on his podcast, sparking distrust in science and medicine,” he said.

Mr. Young also launched his own streaming service in 2018 called “Neil Young Archives” which offers different annual subscriptions ranging from $19.99 to $99.99 to access the artist’s albums.

Mr. Young has previously had issues with streaming platforms. In 2015, he said he didn’t need his content “to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of streaming or any other form of distribution” and that he was pulling his music from streaming services. The artist’s music returned to Spotify in 2016.

Amid a spike in cases, some countries are giving out second booster shots. In Israel, early data suggests that a fourth dose of the vaccine may boost antibodies against covid-19, but not enough to prevent Omicron infections. WSJ explains. Composite photo: Eve Hartley/WSJ

Write to Gareth Vipers at [email protected]

Corrections and Extensions
Some Spotify employees raised concerns about the content of the Joe Rogan podcast during a town hall meeting in September 2020. An earlier version of this article suggested that the town hall meeting took place last September. (Corrected on January 25)

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