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Joni Mitchell And Neil Young Have Removed Their Music From Spotify: Who Is Next?

Joni Mitchell And Neil Young
Joni Mitchell And Neil Young

On Wednesday, Neil Young demanded that Spotify remove his music because the streaming platform refused to remove the popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. In an open letter, the famous singer-songwriter wrote this 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.”

According to Young (and many others), Joe Rogan has been “spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.” Unsurprisingly, Spotify sided with Joe Rogan: Joe Rogan’s podcast receives approximately 11 million streams per episode, and Spotify has revealed itself to be very greedy in the past, so it was very much a no-brainer for the Swedish company.

On Friday, Joni Mitchell announced that she also had requested all her music be removed from Spotify for the same reasons: “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. 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,” wrote in a statement Mitchell who shares a manager with Young.

Just to be clear, the outcry over Rogan’s podcast is not censorship or an attack on free speech. Spotify is a private company and has the right to do whatever they want. Spotify is not the government, and Rogan could make his own platform and spread his lies elsewhere, there’s no censorship here. It is identical to what happened when Twitter removed Donald Trump from its platform.

Joni Mitchell and Neil Young! I am wondering, is this the start of a big movement? Will the big pop and rock stars progressively remove their music from Spotify in a near future? There was a rumor Barry Manilow was following Neil Young, but he immediately tweeted that it was not the case. Peter Frampton also tweeted his support to Neil Young: “I’ve always been an Apple guy for streaming. No Joe Rogan for me thank you!” but so far, Frampton’s music is still on Spotify.

Misinformation is everywhere, on TV, radio, YouTube – another one Neil Young should send an ultimatum to – and everywhere on the internet. It is so omnipresent that it looks almost pointless to fight it. However, Spotify is very popular (the platform has over 380M active users) and if removing Rogan from Spotify will obviously not stop misinformation, this could certainly have an impact.

This is important and Neil Young’s move will only be effective if many others follow. If Taylor Swift for example decides to remove her catalog, Spotify may reconsider Young’s ultimatum.

I have never subscribed to Spotify, I use it for free to listen to music I don’t own, but I am not a subscriber. It could become interesting if a lot of people decide to unsubscribe in solidarity with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell… at least their fans should do it. But it would be even more interesting if a lot of musicians decide to follow Neil Young… I am looking at you Drake, Ed Sheeran, Bad Bunny, Arianna Grande, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Eminem, Taylor Swift, J Balvin, BTS, Kanye West, Billie Eilish, and many others. Would people unsubscribe in mass? Would it be the end of the streaming platform? Unfortunately, I don’t think for a minute that the majority of the musicians will do it.

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