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Neil Young threatens to leave Spotify over ‘vaccine misinformation’ on Joe Rogan podcast show

Neil Young
(Image credit: Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Neil Young has demanded that Spotify remove music from its platform in protest at vaccine misinformation being spread by Joe Rogan’s podcast. 

In a letter addressed to his management and record label Warner Records – and since removed from his website, the Neil Young Archives – Young accused Spotify of spreading false information by hosting the The Joe Rogan Experience.

“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” wrote Young. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast (opens in new tab), Young’s manager, Frank Gironda, confirmed the post was genuine, and that he had spoken to Young about the issue.

“It’s something that’s really important to Neil,” Gironda said. “He’s very upset about this disinformation.”

The letter was addressed to Gironda and Warner Records chairman and COO Tom Corson, and criticised Spotify for not having a misinformation policy in place.

“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy,” he wrote.

Rogan’s guests have included the virologist Dr Robert Malone, who has made a series of contentious and false claims about vaccines, . Both Twitter and YouTube have deleted the episode with Malone.

Young left Spotify with an ultimatum: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

For now, however, Young’s catalogue is still available to stream on Spotify. In other news, Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s feature-length documentary about the making of their latest album, Barn, is available to stream on YouTube. Directed by Young’s wife, Daryl Hannah, it sees Young and co playing in a restored 19th-century log barn under a full moon.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.