Spotify is facing a revolt from one of music’s most legendary names, over the controversial content within one of the world’s most popular podcasts.
The Rockin’ in the Free World singer Neil Young wants his music pulled from the streaming platform over what he says is Coronavirus vaccine misinformation emanating from Joe Rogan and his guests on his Spotify-exclusive Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast.
In an open letter to his managers and record company briefly published on his website (and now removed), Young gave the streaming giant a clear ultimatum over the show it paid $100 million for, as part of its massive podcasting drive.
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both,” he wrote in the letter (first spotted on Rolling Stone).
He said the podcast was “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe this disinformation spread by them.”
Young’s manager Frank Gironda told the Daily Beast the legendary musician was “very upset about this disinformation,” but that the team was “trying to figure this out.” Spotify and Rogan’s representatives are yet to comment.
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The row comes after 270 doctor and scientists wrote to Spotify over the issue, pointing out that the once-music-focused company is yet to create a clear policy when it comes to misinformation on its podcasts.
The academics said that episode #1757 (featuring guest Dr. Robert Malone) includes baseless conspiracies and says the JRE has a “concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The letter stated: “We are a coalition of scientists, medical professionals, professors, and science communicators spanning a wide range of fields such as microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and neuroscience and we are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform. With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”