Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum, SiriusXM to revive artist's channel

·2 min read

Spotify users better get in one last listen of Harvest Moon.

The streaming service is in the process of removing Neil Young's music catalog after he published an open letter Monday (since-deleted) with an ultimatum: Stop the spread of COVID-19 vaccine disinformation on Joe Rogan's podcast or lose his music.

A Spotify spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that Young's music was being pulled from the platform, citing the "great responsibility" to balance "both safety for listeners and freedom for creators."

"We want all the world's music and audio content to be available to Spotify users," the spokesperson said. "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."

Neil Young
Neil Young

Michael Tran/FilmMagic Neil Young

The statement concluded, "We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon."

Representatives for Spotify and Young did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

In Young's letter, addressed to his management and record label, he referenced The Joe Rogan Experience, which has been criticized for promoting conspiracy theories and false information about vaccines. (A coalition of scientists and medical professionals also recently published an open letter calling on Spotify to stop the spread of Rogan's "baseless" claims.)

"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," Young wrote, according Rolling Stone. "Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule."

He added, "With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world's largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy."

UPDATE: Following Spotify's decision to drop Young's music from its platform, SiriusXM announced Thursday that Neil Young Radio will return as a satellite and streaming channel for a limited time.

"When you have an opportunity to present an iconic artist still at the height of his creativity, you don't hesitate to do it, again," Steve Blatter, SiriusXM senior vice president and general manager of music programming, said in a statement. "Outspoken, brave, and a true music icon, Neil Young is in a rare class of artists, and we are honored to collaborate with him to create a special audio experience for his fans."

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