Following an open letter by Neil Young to Spotify over Joe Rogan's content on the platform, the streaming giant removed the artist's songs after his request. Earlier this week, Young published a letter addressing Spotify (which has since been deleted) on his website.
Young gave the platform an ultimatum to choose between Rogan's podcast and his catalog. In the letter, the 76-year-old Canadian-American musician stated,
"They can have Rogan or Young. Not both."
Young further added that the reason behind his ultimatum to Spotify stems from the company's inability to curb the alleged COVID misinformation.
What did Neil Young say about Joe Rogan and his podcast on Spotify?
Young mentioned learning about Spotify's lack of misinformation policies from medical professionals' recent open letter concerning programming like the JRE. Following this, Young wrote, according to multiple entertainment websites,
"I realized I could not continue to support SPOTIFY's life threatening misinformation to the music loving public."
Around 270 medical professionals signed an open letter criticizing Rogan's podcast for spreading alleged misinformation in early January. They also demanded Spotify adopt proper misinformation policies.
Since Rogan signed a deal with Spotify for exclusive rights to broadcast his JRE podcast, the former UFC commentator has been involved in multiple controversies relating to COVID misinformation. In an episode of the podcast in April 2021, Rogan said,
"I think for the most part it's safe to get vaccinated. But if you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I'll go no."
He further stated unproven medical claims about a healthy person's "need to worry about this." Later in September, the 54-year-old podcaster endorsed the ivermectin drug as an alleged treatment for COVID-19.
This received much backlash as the FDA had stated that the drug was "dangerous" in large doses and urged COVID patients not to consume it. The chief medical adviser to the US government, Dr. Anthony Fauci, criticized Joe Rogan's suggestions.
Spotify chose Rogan over Young
While Spotify has not revealed the number of people who subscribed to or followed The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast, it is estimated to be around seven to 10 million. Rogan's podcast reportedly receives approximately 11 million streams per episode.
The controversial podcaster's follower count and streams are the main reasons Spotify decided to back Joe Rogan. His JRE podcast is the most streamed globally and has received much praise from the streaming giant, which acquired exclusive rights in late 2020.
In early February last year, Spotify's report stated,
"[Rogan] stimulated new user additions, activated first-time podcast listeners, and [has] driven favorable engagement trends, including vodcast consumption."
Later in April, they also mentioned that the JRE podcast "performed above expectations." Furthermore, Spotify has paid around $100 million to acquire Rogan's podcast, which is the primary reason they will not remove Joe Rogan or his content from the platform.