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Neil Young’s content removed from Spotify after he called on the streaming giant to choose between him and Joe Rogan: Details

Earlier this week, Young had written a letter to Spotify, asking them to make a choice between him or Joe Rogan, whom he accused of spreading misinformation over COVID-19 vaccines.

Popular online music streaming service Spotify is removing Neil Young’s music after he called for the platform to choose between him and podcaster Joe Rogan, whom he accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines through his popular podcast show on Spotify The Joe Rogan Experience.

On Wednesday, Spotify responded to the ultimatum given by Neil, saying it “regrets” the move and hopes the rock star would return to the platform soon. In a statement issued by the streaming service, Spotify said, “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safeties for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.”

Speaking to the Financial Times, Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said that his organisation is into the business of creating and streaming content to people, and not into regulating what the creators should say or behave. “We want creators to create. It’s what they do best. We are not looking to play a role in what they should say,” he said.

Neil Young had accused Spotify of allowing its platform to be used for spreading COVID misinformation

Earlier this week, Young had written a letter to Spotify, asking them to make a binary choice between him or Rogan, whom he accused of spreading misinformation over COVID-19 vaccines. In his statement posted on Wednesday, Young accused Spotify of being “home to life-threatening COVID misinformation” and a place where “lies were being sold for money”.

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not bot,” Young had said in an ultimatum to Spotify.

Rogan has been at the receiving end of criticism for interviewing an infectious disease expert Dr Robert Malone, who in the podcast episode streamed on December 31 had opposed COVID-19 vaccines for children. Since the podcast raising aspersions on vaccines for children was broadcasted, a large number of people have slammed Rogan for providing his platform to a sceptic who was trying to sow disinformation about vaccination among the public.

Young, a Canadian-American musician, best known for classic hits such as Harvest Moon and Heart of Gold, joined the band of critics who have been criticising Spotify for hosting Joe Rogan. He publicly accused the streaming giant of “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them”.

In his original letter, which was published on Wednesday, Young thanked his label, Warner Records, for standing with him and taking the hit, which meant losing 60% of the singer’s worldwide streaming income that came from Spotify. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform. I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” he said.

Joe Rogan was roped in by Spotify for $100 mn, had defended him during controversy featuring Alex Jones

Joe Rogan was roped in by Spotify in 2020 at a whopping $100 million for the exclusive rights of his popular The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. The programme is among the top podcasts on Spotify and is reportedly downloaded by over 200 million times a month.

Spotify is an online streaming behemoth with more than 300 mn monthly listeners, including more than 170 mn who pay for subscriptions to the service.

It is noteworthy to mention that this is not the first time that Spotify has sided with Joe Rogan. In the past too, the online streaming service had stood in support of Rogan, after a controversy erupted following an episode in 2020 that featured conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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