Joni Mitchell has decided to remove all of her music from Spotify, joining Neil Young in protest of Joe Rogan’s podcast that Young says spreads misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines (via The Wall Street Journal).
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” The Canadian singer-songwriter writes in a post on her website. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
Mitchell also includes a link to an open letter to Spotify, which was signed by dozens of medical and scientific professionals in mid-January. It urges the platform to establish a misinformation policy to address the “misleading and false claims” propagated by the Joe Rogan Experience, such as Rogan’s suggestion that healthy young people shouldn’t get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: keep his music or Rogan’s podcast. Spotify ended up favoring Rogan, and in line with Young’s wishes, the platform pulled all of his music. Young later said he “felt better” after getting his music removed, and then criticized Spotify for failing to offer lossless audio, an option that both Amazon and Apple Music provide. Apple has even been using Young’s departure from Spotify as an opportunity to take numerous digs at its competitor, going so far as to label Apple Music as “the home of Neil Young.”
In 2020, Spotify made the Joe Rogan Experience exclusive to the platform, and it has since come under fire for Rogan’s potentially misleading comments about COVID-19 and its vaccines. As it stands, it appears Spotify’s content policies prevent the platform from doing anything about Rogan’s podcast. In internal guidelines seen by The Verge, its policies seem to allow podcasters to state COVID-19 vaccines can cause death, but not that they’re “designed” to cause death. A screenshot of an internal message also viewed by The Verge reveals Spotify has reviewed numerous controversial episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience, and none “meet the threshold for removal.”
The Verge reached out to Spotify with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.