Protesting Joe Rogan, Neil Young asks for and gets Spotify to remove his music

Rocker says the comedian’s popular podcast on the streaming service is presenting “grossly unfactual information” about COVID-19.

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Neil Young said he didn’t want to support “life-threatening misinformation” about COVID-19 on Spotify.

Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP

Neil Young’s music will be removed from Spotify at his request, following the veteran rock star’s protest over the streaming service airing a popular podcast that featured a guest criticized for spreading COVID misinformation.

Spotify, in a statement on Wednesday, said that it regretted Young’s decision, “but hope to welcome him back soon.”

It wasn’t immediately clear when his music will actually be taken down.

“I realized I could not continue to support Spotify’s life-threatening misinformation to the music loving people,” Young said in a statement.

Young had asked his management and record company publicly on Monday to remove his music from the popular streaming service, where he had more than 6 million monthly listeners, according to his Spotify home page.

Spotify airs the popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” where last month the comedian interviewed Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist who has become a hero in the anti-vaccine community. Malone has been banned from Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation and has falsely suggested that millions of people have been hypnotized into believing that the vaccines work to prevent serious disease.

Spotify said in a statement on Thursday that “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.”

The statement did not address Rogan’s podcast or detail what the content policies are. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions about it.

Young said that many of Spotify’s listeners are hearing misleading information about COVID. They’re young, “impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth,” he said.

“These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information,” he said. “They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out.”

He said he appreciated his record company, Warner Brothers, standing behind him, since Spotify is responsible for 60 percent of his music being streamed all over the world. He said it was “a huge loss for my record company to absorb.”

Young, an audiophile, said his fans have the chance to listen to his music in places where it will sound better.

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