NEW YORK — Spotify is removing Neil Young's songs from its streaming platform after the veteran rocker said he didn't want his music on the platform due to COVID-19 misinformation, reports say.
In a now-deleted letter on his website Monday, Young reportedly demanded his management remove his songs from Spotify in protest of Joe Rogan's popular podcast spreading what he said was COVID-19 misinformation on the streaming platform.
According to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, Spotify began removing Young's songs Wednesday. In statements to both outlets, the company said it wants "all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users."
"We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon," the statement read. The company reportedly told both outlets that it has detailed content policies and has removed more than 20,000 COVID-19 related podcast episodes since the pandemic began.
Attempts to stream some of Young's music on Spotify Wednesday night resulted in a "Song Unavailable" message.
Rolling Stone shared a link to another letter on Young's website, this one published Wednesday. According to the letter, Spotify represents 60% of Young's music streaming globally. The letter thanked Young's record company, Warner Brothers' Reprise Records, for "standing with (him) in (his) decision" despite it being a "huge loss" for the company.
According to the Wednesday letter, Young called for the removal because of concerns that younger listeners might incorrectly "believe SPOTIFY would never present grossly unfactual information." The singer "realized (he) could not continue to support SPOTIFY's life threatening misinformation to the music loving public."
Rogan's Spotify exclusive podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," is wildly popular on the platform. The Times and the Wall Street Journal report that Spotify made a deal with Rogan in 2020 worth more than $100 million, though the company has not confirmed that total.
Rogan provoked anger within the past month for interviewing Dr. Robert Malone on his podcast. Malone, an infectious disease specialist, has been banned for Twitter for spreading misinformation but has become a hero in the anti-vaccine community. He has questioned the COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness and falsely suggested that millions of people had been hypnotized into believing that the vaccines work to prevent serious disease.
A group of doctors and scientists have spread a petition online calling on Spotify to adopt policies to prevent the spread of misinformation on their platform.
Young has never been a rabid fan of Spotify. At his insistence, much of his music was removed from the platform for several months beginning in 2015 because of his concerns about audio quality.