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Neil Young
Neil Young (Ben Houdijk/Shutterstock)

Be Careful What You Wish For: Spotify Begins Removing Neil Young’s Music

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(CelebrityAccess) – Spotify has begun removing the music of Neil Young two days after he penned an open letter to the music streamer demanding his music be removed from the platform if they continue to distribute podcasts by Joe Rogan that Young claims contain dangerous misinformation about COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Spotify began complying with Young’s request, with a spokesperson telling the Hollywood Reporter that: “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. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,”

The streaming platform’s decision to remove Young’s music comes after the singer-songwriter doubled down on his criticism of Spotify on Wednesday, and in another open letter posted on his website, he accused the streamer of putting profits ahead of public health, calling the platform “the home of life threatening Covid misinformation.”

Young continued, writing:

“Most of the listeners hearing the unfactual, misleading and false COVID information on Spotify are 24 years old, impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth.”

“All of my music is available on Spotify, being sold to these young people, who believe what they are hearing because it is on Spotify, and people like me are supporting Spotify by presenting my music there.”

“I realized I could not continue to support Spotify’s life-threatening misinformation to the music loving public.”

He also went on to single out his label for supporting his protest against Spotify, noting that he doesn’t have full legal control of his music and removing it from Spotify was not entirely in his hands.

“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!”

Young also hinted at Spotify’s current market dominance, stating that the streaming platform represents 60% of his listenership with fans around the world, but took the opportunity to name check other platforms where his music is available, including Qobuz, Apple, and Amazon.

Rogan, formerly the host of the NBC reality television competition ‘Fear Factor’ before he recast himself, successfully, as one of the most popular podcasters in the industry with a huge following of loyal listeners.

In 2020, Spotify announced it had secured an exclusive deal to carry Rogan’s content as tentpole for Spotify’s podcast offerings. While the scope of Rogan’s deal with Spotify wasn’t officially disclosed, multiple media reports estimated the deal to be worth more than $100m.

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