Neil Young removes his music from Spotify after accusing the company of misinforming about covid vaccines | Culture

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Neil Young during a concert in Canada, in July 2018.
Neil Young during a concert in Canada, in July 2018.ALICE CHICHE (AFP)

Neil Young is leaving Spotify. The artist has kept his word and has ordered the works of 60 years of experience to be taken down from the platform. The musician had a brief pulse with comedian Joe Rogan, who has lent his podcast, the most listened to on the planet, to unconfirmed theories or hoaxes about vaccines against covid-19. “Spotify has recently become a harmful force thanks to its misinformation and lies about covid,” says Young in a statement that was published this Wednesday on his official page and where at no time does he refer to Rogan or his pro program. Name. His extensive catalog, which begins with his debut in 1969, will be withdrawn in the next few hours, as confirmed by his team to the American press.

Young, 76, is an American rock legend of the 1960s. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he is still very active. He released his most recent album on December 10. But it has not only remained present on stage. Also as an activist. That month he learned that he wanted to leave the service of streaming after reading an open letter from over 200 doctors demanding that Spotify put a stop to Rogan’s misinformation on their show. “During the pandemic, it has repeatedly spread falsehoods and inaccuracies, which has caused mistrust in science and medicine,” the specialists’ text pointed out.

The audience for Rogan, a comedian known for a wrathful sense of humor who was signed to an exclusive distribution deal by Spotify for more than $100 million, is 24 years old on average. The unvaccinated in this age group are 12 times more likely to be admitted to hospital if they become infected. Despite this, the eleven million listeners who download each episode of The Joe Rogan Experience they heard its headline hint that vaccinations were not necessary, claim that mRNA biologics were gene therapy, and suggest the use of ivermectin, a veterinary drug, to treat the disease. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an interview of more than three hours with Robert Malone, a doctor who has been suspended on social networks like Twitter for comparing the ongoing immunization campaign in the United States with the Holocaust.

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“These young people believe that Spotify would never present seriously inaccurate information. Unfortunately they are wrong. I knew I should try to get this noticed,” says Young in the text justifying his decision. “I realized that I could not continue to contribute to the potentially deadly disinformation of Spotify,” he adds while inviting other artists and labels to follow his example.

The musician, who formed one of the first superbands decades ago with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills, has said that the decision was not easy because he was “contractually bound” and had no control over the fate of his music. In his text, however, he reveals that his label, Warner Brothers and his Reprise Records label, have supported him to delete his catalog from the platform, despite the fact that this represents 60% of the total reproductions of his work. “It is an immense loss that my company must absorb, but even so I have been supported by my friends because of the danger that Spotify’s misinformation represents,” says the artist.

Young has taken advantage of the goodbye to hit the streaming service, which has been criticized by artists for years for the low income that reproductions represent despite its 165 million subscribers. “Spotify continues to market the worst quality music to players,” Young said of one of his now-famous crusades. In 2015, for example, he launched Pono, a digital music service offering high-quality recordings that flopped and ran out of money to operate a year later. The artist reminds his followers that his music can continue to be heard on the services of Amazon, Apple, Qobuz and his archives page is a great bible, which allows studying the hundreds of songs he has published. None of these companies offers Rogan’s program, who has emerged victorious from a new battle.

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The book Neil Young about Neil Young, which compiles several interviews with the artist, rescues a moment from 1989 during a press conference in Amsterdam. A journalist asked the musician if he believed that artists had a responsibility to share their vision of the world with the world.

“No,” replied the author dryly. Harvest.

-And why do you do it then?, the reporter wanted to know.

-It’s irresponsible of me, but it’s just something I do. That’s just me, Young replied with a laugh.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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