Joni Mitchell Removing Her Music From Spotify: “I Stand With Neil Young!”

·4 min read

The legendary Joni Mitchell has announced she, too, will remove her music from Spotify because “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives.” Mitchell says she is doing so “in solidarity” with her longtime friend, Neil Young, who requested his music be removed from the service because of Covid misinformation spread on Joe Rogan’s wildly popular Spotify podcast. Young and Mitchell are indelibly linked to ’60s activism and so it is not surprising they would put their values over Spotify’s money. Rogan, an anti-vaxxer who has been critical of scientist-backed Covid protocol recommendations, is under a $100 million contract with Spotify. But musicians tend to rally together for a cause, and if a star like Bruce Springsteen followed suit, there may be a reckoning for Spotify, whose share values took a tumble this week. In the whims of Wall Street, the company reportedly lost over $2 billion in market capitalization after Young pulled his music.

Mitchell wrote in a post to her personal web site, “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

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Earlier this week, Young wrote, “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy,’ he wrote, according to numerous media reports. “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform…They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Young, who survived polio as a child, continued, “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.”

The streamer later removed his catalog from the service and issued the following statement:

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.

Rogan signed a $100 million deal with Spotify in 2020, giving them exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience.

There has been chatter that Young’s stance might inspire others to do likewise. There were rumors (since denied) that Barry Manilow had made a similar request. Peter Frampton wrote on Twitter earlier today, “Good for you Neil. I’ve always been an Apple guy for streaming. No Joe Rogan for me thank you!”

Mitchell has her own controversial medical history. She has long contended that she suffers from Morgellons syndrome. “Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral.” While the cause of the disease has not been pinpointed, many dermatologists and psychiatrists believe that Morgellons is a psychiatric disease.

Apple Music itself did some trolling, posting an animated montage of his album covers with the words, “The home of Neil Young. Listen to his entire catalog on Apple Music.”

Young isn’t the first to complain about Rogan’s vaccine stance. Earlier this month, a group of 270 scientists, professors, doctors and healthcare workers wrote an open letter to Spotify expressing concern about “false and societally harmful assertions” made on The Joe Rogan Experience. The letter urged Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform.”

The doctors’ group took issue with what it calls Rogan’s penchant for “broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” specifically “a highly controversial episode featuring guest Dr. Robert Malone.” The group noted that Malone was suspended from Twitter for “for spreading misinformation about COVID-19,” and said he used his time on Rogan’s podcast to promote “an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public.

Last night, Daily Show host Trevor Noah called Rogan and his guest out about a discussion about skin color on the podcast this week.

Greg Evans contributed to this report.

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