After the gold rush of signing Joe Rogan, Spotify now has to deal with the harvest.
The latest difficulty in reaction to Spotify’s controversial star turn comes from singer and songwriter Neil Young, who says he’s extremely unhappy to be sharing a platform with Rogan. “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” Young wrote in an open letter to his manager and record label (which has since been deleted from his website). “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”
The reason? Rogan’s hand in spreading vaccine misinformation. As first reported by Rolling Stone, Young writes: “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
“He’s very upset about this disinformation.”
Young’s manager Frank Gironda confirmed to The Daily Beast that the letter was real and that he and the singer were working out what to do next. “It’s something that’s really important to Neil,” said Gironda. “He’s very upset about this disinformation.” Gironda added: “We’re trying to figure this out right now.”
Young isn’t the only one to object to Rogan’s comments in this arena. Recently, an open letter signed by more than 1,000 scientists and medical professionals called on Spotify to implement a “misinformation policy” in response to Rogan’s “propagation of false and societally harmful assertions.” The letter notes that Rogan’s misleading statements including discouraging young people from getting the vaccine and promoting unproven treatments like ivermectin for COVID-19.
It’s not the first time Young has objected to his presence on Spotify. He previously removed his music from the streaming platform because the company’s audio quality was too low. “I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution,” he said in 2015. That year, Young released his own Pono music player, which focused on high quality audio, and later tried to pivot this hardware scheme into his own streaming service (which is currently defunct).
We’ve reached out to Spotify for comment on this latest news and will update the story if we hear back.