In the past week, superstar artists Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have pulled their catalogs from Spotify in response to what they say is the company’s spread of Covid-19 vaccines “misinformation”.
The catalyst for Young’s deletion of his music from the service was a recently published open letter from hundreds of medical professionals, calling on Daniel Ek‘s company to remove vaccine-related misinformation from its service.
The letter references an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast featuring Dr. Robert Malone, in which a number of controversial claims were made about the Covid-19 vaccine.
Over the weekend, Young’s friend and musical peer Joni Mitchell announced that she too would be exiting Spotify in solidarity with Neil Young.
On Friday (January 28), MBW suggested in an op ed – written before Joni Mitchell removed her music from the service – that Neil Young’s Spotify exit would be a ‘test case for artists who dare question music industry dogma’.
Today (February 1), we learn of yet two more cultural icons deciding to pull their music from the platform.
Firstly, Grammy Award-winning artist India.Arie is removing her music from the platform.
As reported by Rolling Stone, Arie revealed in Instagram post that she would be removing her music from Spotify over comments made in Joe Rogan’s podcast, but “for reasons other than his Covid interviews” and specifically about his “language around race.”
“Neil Young opened a door that I must walk through,” India.Arie wrote on Instagram.
“I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his Covid interviews. For me, it’s also his language around race.”
“What I am talking about is respect — who gets it and who doesn’t. Paying musicians a fraction of a penny? And him $100 [million]? This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep. I’m tired.”
In addition, Graham Nash, Young’s former bandmate in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, has also announced that he will be requesting for his solo recordings to be made unavailable on Spotify.
As per Rolling Stone, Nash has said in a statement that, “I completely agree with and support my friend Neil Young”.
Nash goes on to cite – in reference to the above-mentioned Joe Rogan podcast episode – what he says is, “false information which some 270 medical professionals have derided as not only false but dangerous”.
He adds: “The opinions publicized by Rogan are so dishonest and unsupported by solid facts that Spotify becomes an enabler in a way that costs people their lives.”
Nash’s announcement follows the news on Saturday of Nash and Young’s former bandmate David Crosby showing his support for Neil Young’s decision on Twitter.
When asked by fans whether he would be removing his own catalog from Spotify, to support his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate, Crosby replied: “I no longer control it or I would in support of Neil.”
Crosby sold both his publishing and recorded music interests to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group for an undisclosed sum in March 2021.
“I completely agree with and support my friend Neil Young.”
As per Rolling Stone, Nash said in a statement: “Having heard the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify, I completely agree with and support my friend Neil Young and I am requesting that my solo recordings be removed from the service.”
Added Nash: “There is a difference between being open to varying viewpoints on a matter and knowingly spreading false information which some 270 medical professionals have derided as not only false but dangerous.
“Likewise, there is a difference between misinformation, in which one is unaware that what is being said is false, versus disinformation which is knowingly false and intended to mislead and sway public opinion.
“The opinions publicized by Rogan are so dishonest and unsupported by solid facts that Spotify becomes an enabler in a way that costs people their lives.”
On Sunday (January 30), Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek published an open letter in response to the criticisms his company has been receiving over its hosting of content that some say spreads dangerous falsehoods about Covid-19.Music Business Worldwide