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

Neil Young‘s discography will no longer be available on Spotify.

The musician, 76, gave the music streaming platform an ultimatum earlier this week between his music and Joe Rogan‘s podcast. On Wednesday, Spotify confirmed that it would be removing his songs for the time being.

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” a spokesperson for Spotify said in a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday. “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-19 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 an open letter shared to his website on Monday that appears to have since been deleted, Young took a stand against COVID misinformation that he said was being disseminated in Rogan’s podcast.

“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,” he wrote, according to Rolling Stone and Variety. “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 my music off their platform. They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young added, according to the outlets.

Young posted an additional letter on his website Thursday, writing in part, “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. These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information. They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out.”

Young referenced what Rogan, 54, has shared on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast. A group of 270 scientists, professors and medical professionals previously shared an open letter to Spotify on New Year’s Eve, requesting the audio streamer implement a misinformation policy.

“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” they wrote.

The letter cited Rogan discouraging vaccinations in young people and children, falsely claiming that mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy,” and promoting off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID, which the FDA has previously warned against.

“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,” the letter stated. “Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine,” they added.

Last year, Rogan claimed that he is not an anti-vaxxer after making controversial remarks that young, healthy people do not need to get vaccinated. “I’m not an anti-vaxx person. In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take them,” he said in April 2020. “I just said I don’t think that if you’re a young healthy person you need it.”

Young has taken a stand over the use of his music in the past, filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump in 2020, after the former president played his songs on the campaign trail for reelection.

 

By Katie Campione and Sarah Michaud

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