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Spotify begins to remove Neil Young’s music following his Joe Rogan ultimatum

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Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young’s music from its library.

The decision follows after the musician penned an open letter to his manager and label asking them to remove his music from Spotify should the service continue to host Joe Rogan’s podcast.

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” said the “Harvest Moon” singer.

The 76-year-old wrote that he does not appreciate Spotify’s affiliation with Rogan.

Young said Rogan’s podcast – The Joe Rogan Experience – is spreading “false information” regarding Covid-19 vaccines, adding that it is “potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them”.

A spokesperson for Spotify has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the service will not be pulling Rogan’s content and therefore will abide by Young’s request to remove his music.

“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,” they said.

“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.”

In a now-deleted letter posted on Young’s website on Monday (24 January), the singer addressed his management team at LookoutManagement and Warner Bros.

“Please immediately inform Spotify that I am actively canceling all my music availability on Spotify as soon as possible,” wrote Young.

He continued: “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false 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. I want you to let Spotify know immediately today that I want all of my music off their platform.”

Earlier this year, a group of scientists and medical professionals asked Spotify to address Covid misinformation following a controversial Joe Rogan episode about vaccines.

Actor and comedian Joe Rogan, hosting his globally successful podcast ‘The Joe Rogan Experience' (Spotify/The Joe Rogan Experience)
Actor and comedian Joe Rogan, hosting his globally successful podcast ‘The Joe Rogan Experience' (Spotify/The Joe Rogan Experience)

Rogan – who also works as a commentator for the UFC – interviewed Dr Robert Malone, who claimed that Americans were “hypnotised” into wearing masks and getting vaccines.

In an April 2021 episode of his podcast, Rogan discouraged young people from getting vaccinated, stating: “If you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go, no.”

He addressed the backlash to his comments, saying that he is “not an anti-vax person”.

“I believe they’re safe and encourage many people to take them,” Rogan said, although he refused to back down on claims that young people do not “need” the vaccine.

The 54-year-old stressed that he is “not a doctor”. He said: “I’m not a respected source of information, even for me”.

Neil Young performs at a benefit on 14 September 2019 in Lake Hughes, California (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Neil Young performs at a benefit on 14 September 2019 in Lake Hughes, California (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In 2020, Spotify signed a licensing deal with Rogan worth $100m (£74.3m). His full library, dating back to 2009, became exclusive to the streaming service.

The licensing agreement is one of the largest deals in the podcast business.

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