The legendary Joni Mitchell has announced that she too will remove her music from Spotify because “irresponsible people spread lies that kill people”. Mitchell says she’s doing this “out of solidarity” with longtime boyfriend Neil Young, who requested his music be removed from the service over Covid misinformation circulating on Joe Rogan’s hugely popular Spotify podcast.
Mitchell wrote in a post on her personal website: “I have decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people spread lies that cost lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this matter.”
Mitchell has her own controversial medical history. She has long claimed that she has Morgellons Syndrome. “Fibers of various colors protrude from my skin like mushrooms after a rain shower: they are not forensically identifiable as animal, vegetable, or mineral.” Although the cause of the disease has not been precisely determined, many dermatologists and psychiatrists believe that Morgellons is a psychiatric one disease is.
Earlier this week, Young wrote, “Spotify has a responsibility to curb the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company currently has no misinformation policy,” he wrote, according to numerous media reports. “I want you to let Spotify TODAY know right away that I want all my music removed from their platform… You can have Rogan or you can have Young. Not both.”
Young, who survived polio as a child, continued: “I’m doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death for those who believe the disinformation is being spread by them. Please act on it immediately today and keep me updated on the schedule.”
The streamer later removed its catalog from the service, issuing the following statement:
We want all the music and audio content in the world to be available to Spotify users. With that comes a great responsibility to strike a balance between safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and have removed over 20,000 Covid-related podcast episodes since the pandemic began. 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 The Joe Rogan Experience.
There has been talk that Young’s attitude might inspire others to do the same. There were rumors (now denied) that Barry Manilow had made a similar request. Peter Frampton wrote on Twitter today: “Good for you Neil. I’ve always been an Apple guy for streaming. No Joe Rogan for me, thanks!”
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) January 28, 2022
Apple Music itself did some trolling and created an animated montage of its album covers with the words “The home of Neil Young. Listen to his entire catalog on Apple Music.”
The home of Neil Young.
Listen to his entire catalog on Apple Music: https://t.co/sUGtz4JbB9 pic.twitter.com/YgRMygUqhi
— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) January 28, 2022
Young isn’t the first to complain about Rogan’s vaccination 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 socially harmful claims” made in The Joe Rogan Experience. The letter urged Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to curb misinformation on its platform.”
The medical group criticized what it calls Rogan’s propensity to “spread misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” particularly “a highly controversial episode starring guest Dr. Robert Malone”. Noting that Malone was suspended from Twitter for “spreading misinformation about COVID-19,” the group said he used his time on Rogan’s podcast to “propell an unfounded theory that societal leaders are ‘hypnotizing’ the public ‘ to have.
Last night, Daily Show host Trevor Noah called Rogan and his guest to address a discussion on race on this week’s podcast.
Greg Evans contributed to this report.