Spotify is removing Neil Young’s music catalog at his request after he published an open letter demanding that the streaming giant address the vaccine misinformation being spread on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators,” a spokesperson for Spotify told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
Young's letter was originally published on his website on Monday, but has since been removed.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young wrote. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
In another statement published on his website Wednesday, Young said he hopes that other musical artists and record companies “will move off the SPOTIFY platform and stop supporting SPOTIFY’S deadly misinformation about COVID.”
“I realized I could not continue to support SPOTIFY’S life threatening misinformation to the music loving public,” Young wrote. “SPOTIFY has become the home of life threatening COVID misinformation. Lies being sold for money.”
In 2020, Rogan signed a $100 million licensing deal with Spotify, making it the exclusive owner of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan has been under fire for spreading inaccurate information about COVID and vaccines to his millions of listeners. Earlier this month, 270 doctors and medical professionals also published an open letter to Spotify calling for the company to “implement a misinformation policy.”
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine. He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are 'gene therapy,' promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (contrary to FDA warnings), and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories,” the letter states.
Representatives for Young and Rogan did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.