Spotify To Take Down Neil Young’s Music After His Joe Rogan Ultimatum

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
January 26, 2022 Updated: January 26, 2022

Spotify has removed Neil Young’s music after the singer said he was concerned that podcaster Joe Rogan is spreading fake information about COVID-19 vaccines on the streaming service.

“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” Young wrote in a letter to his record company, Warner Music Group, and manager earlier this week. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

The prolific singer-songwriter had accused the platform of “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death” by allowing Rogan’s hit podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” to air.

On Wednesday, the “Heart of Gold” and “Rocking In the Free World” singer thanked his record label for “standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify,” and he encouraged other musicians to do the same.

“Spotify has become the home of life threatening COVID misinformation,” he said on his website. “Lies being sold for money.”

“I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the Spotify platform and stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about COVID,” he added.

The Swedish company said it worked to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators” and had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related COVID-19 in accordance with its “detailed content policies.”

“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” Spotify said in a statement to U.S. media outlets on Wednesday.

Rogan, 54, hosts Spotify’s top-rated podcast. The company holds exclusive rights to the program, but Rogan maintains full creative control over the show.

Spotify and Rogan signed a deal in 2020 worth more than $100 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

His views on the COVID-19 pandemic, government mandates, and COVID-19 vaccines have stirred controversy among certain segments of society.

In late August, Rogan tested positive for COVID-19. He announced his diagnosis in a video on Instagram in early September.

He said that he took monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, a Z-pack, prednisone, a NAD drip, and a vitamin drip, and felt great by the third day.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that has been long been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in humans to treat a variety of illnesses, as well as other drugs after being diagnosed with COVID-19. His confirmation that he took the drug prompted criticism from a number of mainstream media pundits, including CNN’s Jim Acosta, who claimed Rogan was taking a “livestock dewormer.”

The FDA has urged people not to take ivermectin to treat COVID-19, saying that large doses of the drug can cause side effects.

Young, 76, said on Wednesday that Spotify accounted for 60 percent of the streaming of his music to listeners around the world. The removal is “a huge loss for my record company to absorb,” he said, adding that his music will soon “live on in a better place.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Spotify, Warner Music Group, and Rogan for comment.

Young’s letter to the streaming service came after 270 scientists and medical professionals signed a letter earlier this month urging Spotify to take action against Rogan, accusing him of spreading vaccine misinformation on his podcast.

Rogan’s supporters view the controversy as having come about due to his opposing narratives put out by legacy media in relation to the pandemic. Efforts to have him de-platformed are also seen by many as another example of so-called cancel culture and censorship.

Jack Phillips and Reuters contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.