Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell announced that she is removing all your Spotify music. On her website, she published a brief statement saying that “irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives”. She added that she stands with “Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.” While Mitchell didn’t mention COVID-19 or Joe Rogan in particular, she linked to a open letter to Spotify of a group of scientists and doctors criticizing the presenter for “repeatedly spreading[ing] misleading and false claims on his podcast, sparking distrust in science and medicine” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A few days ago, Young threatened to leave the platform and told his team that it was because “Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines.” He also said that Spotify may have “[Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.” Mitchell and Young are friends and both contracted polio as children before the vaccine was available. Unsurprisingly, Spotify began deleting Young’s back catalog from the platform shortly after news of his stance broke, while also stating that it is taking steps to remove misinformation from its service.
The company said it has withdrawn more than 20,000 COVID-related podcast episodes since the start of the pandemic. Rogan’s show, however, is still very much available. And that includes the controversial episode with Dr. Robert Malone, who claimed that “mass-forming psychosis” led people to believe that vaccines were effective in fighting COVID-19. Spotify has signed an exclusive agreement to host the Joe Rogan’s Experience in 2020 and is believed to have paid over $100 million for it. The show is a key element in Spotify’s quest to continue dominating the podcast space, so it’s no surprise that it was Young’s music that had to find a new home.
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