Both Sides Declare Victory in Neil Young-Joe Rogan Spotify Standoff Over COVID-19 Claims

Headline Roundup January 28th, 2022

A rock-and-roll music legend removed his music from one of the world's most popular music streaming services this week after accusing the platform of spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

Canadian-American musician Neil Young wrote a now-deleted letter on his website asking his team to pull his entire catalog from Spotify, claiming the platform and podcast host Joe Rogan are "spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation." He added that Spotify "can have Rogan or Young. Not both." Spotify confirmed Wednesday that Young's music had been taken off the platform. Rogan signed a $100 million contract with Spotify for his podcast in 2020, which has an estimated 11 million listeners each month. He often discusses alternative COVID-19 treatments and criticizes left-rated media's COVID-19 coverage on his show, and has at times been censored by Spotify, YouTube and other technology companies over concerns about potential COVID-19 misinformation.

Some left-rated voices were critical of Rogan and Spotify for purportedly spreading COVID-19 misinformation and supportive of Young's decision to stand up for his principles. Some right-rated voices claimed victory; voiced support for Rogan; condemned purported efforts to censor conservatives; celebrated Spotify for not meeting Young's ultimatum; and highlighted voices across the spectrum who seemed to side with the podcaster. One writer for The Verge (Lean Left bias) argued that because Rogan drives more revenue for Spotify than Young does, the platform's decision to ignore Young's demand was likely easy.

From the Left

Neil Young has never been quiet about his hatred of streaming, Big Tech, or the digitization of the music experience in general. But the veteran rocker escalated the crusade earlier this week, when he posted (and then deleted) a letter on his website asking his manager and an executive at his label, Warner Bros., to pull his entire catalog from Spotify. Artists have long criticized the streaming platform for not compensating musicians fairly, but Young cited a different reason for his action: Joe Rogan. The most popular podcaster in the world has been trafficking in...

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From the Center

Spotify will remove Neil Young's music from its streaming platform, because the 76-year-old rock icon objected to the company's response to vaccine misinformation.

The big picture: This matters more than you'd think, given the popularity of old music.

70% of the music streamed online is older than 18 months, according to MRC Data's 2021 year-end report.

Yes, but: Many of the big new releases of 2021 were dropped because tour dates got COVID-canceled, Matt Yazge, vice president of research business for MRC Data, tells Axios.

61% of U.S. music listeners say that they are interested in...

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From the Right

This is hilarious. Neil Young tried to pick a fight with Spotify over Joe Rogan—and he lost. It wasn’t really a fight. The streaming service quickly cut ties with Young who demanded that all his music be removed because Joe Rogan is a bad, bad man or something. It was really over the podcaster’s remarks about COVID that the Left has branded misinformation because Rogan is no pro-stab everyone with a needle (via WSJ):

Spotify Technology SA has removed Neil Young’s music, the company confirmed Wednesday, as the folk-rock star isn’t...

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