Neil Young’s music now gone from Spotify in Joe Rogan vaccine row

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Neil Young’s music has been removed from the streaming platform Spotify, following the brief publication of an open letter in which he accused the platform of helping spread misinformation about vaccines.

Earlier this week, Young wrote on his website: “Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”

He stated that the platform can “have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both”, referring to the Spotify-exclusive The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has, in recent times, gained notoriety for making baseless claims surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment. It has also hosted Dr Robert Malone, who discussed the controversial Mass Formation Psychosis theory.

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If you go on to Neil Young’s artist page on Spotify, a handful of his most popular tracks are still playable – however, they no longer appear as part of their respective albums. Instead, they are listed as part of various soundtrack albums, and presumably remain on the platform as they have a separate licensing deal. All of Young’s albums, bar a single live album, have been removed.

Spotify replied to Young’s ultimatum yesterday (26 January), writing: “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.”

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