Legendary singer Neil Young has been very outspoken about his intentions to keep himself and his fans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it wasn’t clear before that Young means business when it involves COVID-19, it certainly is now. Consequence reports that Spotify has agreed to Young’s demand that his music is taken down in protest of Joe Rogan’s podcast spreading misinformation about COVID.
In August 2021, Young, who is a co-founder and board member of Farm Aid, canceled his performance due to COVID safety concerns. Later, he posted on his blog post “Concerts and Covid”, the singer called concerts “super-spreader events” and “irresponsible Freedom Fests.” Young even went as far as to declare that he wouldn’t tour as long as COVID-19 is still a threat. On January 25, the singer posted an open letter that demanded that his management and record label take down all of his music on Spotify. He specifically referenced Spotify’s podcast The Joe Rogan Experience for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and the COVID vaccines.
Well, Spotify has started the process of removing Young’s music from the platform. A representative of Spotify stated, “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.” It is reported that Young’s discography will be removed from Spotify later this evening.
Even after the singer shared previously unreleased songs in December 2021, Young states, “…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.” He also encouraged other musicians to take a stand with him and “stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about COVID.” While fans may miss his music on Spotify, it’s certain that Young takes this situation very seriously and will continue to stand his ground.