This past week, Spotify made the momentous decision to remove Neil Young’s music from their platform due to his complaints over the company’s biggest podcaster, Joe Rogan. Young gave Spotify an ultimatum in a public letter, forcing them to pick between him and Joe Rogan after his complaints over Rogan’s spreading of misinformation. The hashtag #CancelSpotify was trending on Twitter on Thursday, January 27.
According to Consequence, Neil Young wrote in his letter to Spotify: “I realized I could not continue to support Spotify’s life threatening misinformation to the music loving public. 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!”
The response from Young and the decisions from Spotify have sparked online debate about large companies’ roles in preserving free speech or promoting misinformation. Although Spotify accounts for 60% of Young’s streaming income, all other music streaming platforms are continuing to offer Neil Young’s vast catalog for streaming.
We are three years into a pandemic, millions are dead & Spotify is supporting Joe Rogan – perhaps the single biggest superspreader of Covid misinformation in the 🌎. Coz he’s brings in the 🤑
— kate_the_khemist (she/her) (@katethekhemist) January 27, 2022
David Draiman of Disturbed only had praise for Spotify’s decision. Draiman wrote directly to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, saying, “I applaud you and Spotify for making the right call, preserving free speech and not capitulating the mob. I may not agree with everything Joe Rogan or his guests say, but they’re entitled to have the forum to say it.” Young said that “when I left Spotify, I felt better.”