War on Spotify: Neil Young threatens to withdraw his songs if he doesn’t cancel an anti-vaccine podcast | Culture


It’s a train wreck. On one side a rock legend. On the other the king of the podcast in United States. Neil Young and the controversial Joe Rogan face each other over coronavirus vaccines. In the middle of these two giants is Spotify, the service of streaming he has received an ultimatum from the musician. “I want to let Spotify know today that I want my catalog off their platform… They can have Rogan or Young. Not both”, the rocker wrote to his representative in a letter in which he shows his fed up with the announcer and his spread of misinformation in a program listened to, on average, by 11 million people in each episode.

Spotify, for the moment, remains silent in the face of Young’s demand. The company considers Rogan as the goose that lays the golden eggs. In May 2020, he signed an agreement with the foul-mouthed comedian to exclusively offer The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE). The amount of the settlement has never been made public, but New York Times They estimate that the company shelled out more than $100 million to acquire one of the most listened-to audio products on the planet, a broadcast that has more viewers than many prime-time cable shows. In the operation, Spotify eliminated 42 episodes in which racist, sexist or transphobic comments were made.

Promotional image of Joe Rogan.
Promotional image of Joe Rogan.

The Joe Rogan Experience It is as popular as it is controversial. The forceful views of the comedian, a debater so popular that he has managed to avoid the culture of political correctness and some attempt at cancellation, are adopted as truth by tens of thousands of Americans. In May 2021, Rogan told his audience that he considered that young people who practiced sports did not have to be vaccinated against covid, which deserved a response from the White House and the presenter was forced to qualify his statements.

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In September, after reporting that he had contracted the virus, Rogan told listeners that he was treating the illness with ivermectin, a veterinary drug whose human use is discouraged by health experts. By October, the treatment had run out in several cities in the United States. The most recent controversy came on December 31, when program number 1,757 had Robert Malone as a guest, a virologist who helped develop messenger RNA vaccines, but who has questioned the United States government’s immunization strategy. For his anti-vaccine comments, Malone has been removed from Twitter and some YouTube videos. His talk with Rogan, which lasts three hours and six minutes and is still on the platform, has been repudiated by more than 270 specialists in an open letter.

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Neil Young claims to be fed up with Rogan. “JRE, found exclusively on Spotify, is the podcast largest in the world and has tremendous influence. Spotify is responsible for mitigating the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company does not currently have a policy on this,” the musician wrote in a letter to his representative, Frank Gironda, and to Tom Corson, an executive at Warner Records, his record company. . The document was posted on Young’s official website, the Neil Young Archives, but was quickly removed.

Gironda has confirmed that Young is very upset with the situation. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines, something that can potentially cause the death of those who believe this information,” the musician wrote to his team, stressing that he expected a solution to the conflict today. The 76-year-old Canadian is ideologically progressive. He recently informed his fans that he will not be doing concerts to promote his latest album, barn, recorded with his popular band Crazy Horse, until the tour bus is fully converted to a zero-emission electric vehicle.

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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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