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

This is what Neil Young demanded

Spotify Technology to

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He removed his music over what he says is vaccine misinformation posted by Joe Rogan on the streaming service.

Mr. Young, whose hit songs including “Heart of Gold” and “Harvest Moon” have racked up hundreds of millions of plays on Spotify, wrote an open letter to his manager and record company criticizing Mr. Rogan and Spotify. He wrote: “I do this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – which could cause the deaths of those who believe the misinformation is being spread by them.” the message It has since been removed from its website.

Mr. Young did not respond to requests for comment.

The message came in response to the “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, which is currently running Spotify’s most popular podcastas well as peaks

An apple‘s

broadcast schemes. In 2020 Mr. Rogan Signed an exclusive podcast deal with SpotifyIt is worth more than $100 million.

Joe Rogan used his podcast to discuss Covid-19 vaccines and restrictions.


Photo:

Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has an enormous impact. It is Spotify’s responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform,” Mr. Young wrote in the letter. I want you to tell Spotify right away today that I want all of my music off their platform… they can get Rogan or Young. Not both.”

While naming Mr. Young,

Warner Music Group Inc.

Warner Records, is the licensor of Spotify and may have legal control over how and where his music is distributed, and it is usual for the record company to take the artist’s wishes into account. Young’s character act in particular tends to have more control over their career and creative output. The label was in discussions with Mr. Young about the matter Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person said if a decision is made to remove the music, Spotify may remove it within hours.

Mr Young’s speech cited an episode of the podcast in which Mr Rogan spoke with Dr. Robert Mallon, a virologist who has worked on research on several mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, but is now critical of therapies. Among the allegations made was the suggestion that hospitals were financially motivated to misdiagnose deaths as caused by Covid-19.

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

Spotify’s bet on Mr. Rogan’s show has caused problems in the past for the podcast company. some employees Express concern about podcast content During a city council meeting in September 2020, regarding material they felt was anti-transgender, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company has stood by its podcast star, with CEO Daniel Eck saying the ambition to make Spotify “the world’s largest audio platform” involves embracing diverse voices and different opinions as the company chases the scale of podcasting.

“The most important thing for us is to have very clear policies,” he said in an interview a month after the city council. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Joe Rogan or someone else, we apply these policies and they should apply equally.”

Amid the increasing number of cases, some countries are distributing second booster doses. In Israel, early data suggests that a fourth dose of the vaccine can increase antibodies against Covid-19, but it is not enough to prevent infection from Omicron. WSJ explains. Composite Image: Eve Hartley/WSJ

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

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly posted misleading and false claims on his podcast, fueling mistrust in science and medicine,” she said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Spotify has removed more than 20,000 Covid-related podcasts as a result of its creators violating its policies, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person said that while more than 40 of Mr. Rogan’s episodes have been removed, none have been linked to the pandemic.

Mr. Young too Launch his own streaming service In 2018, it was 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 that he does not need to “be undervalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution” and that He was pulling his music of broadcast services. The artist’s music returned to Spotify in 2016. “This is where people get music,” he later told Rolling Stone.

Monday’s message wasn’t the first time this outspoken 76-year-old has used his website to acquire big music companies. Last summer, Mr. Young criticized the concert promoters in a post, Calling live shows of super distributed events I wonder why more artists haven’t canceled shows.

Alison Prang contributed to this article.

Write to Gareth Vipers at gareth.vipers@wsj.com

Corrections and amplifications
Some Spotify employees expressed concern about Joe Rogan’s podcast content during the September 2020 city council meeting. An earlier version of this article suggested that the city council meeting took place last September. (corrected Jan 25th)

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