Neil Young and Joni Mitchell Take Music Off of Spotify


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Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have removed their music from the music streaming service, Spotify, due to the platform’s part in the spread of misinformation of COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know. 

Young is a Canadian Singer-Songwriter who is well known for the songs: Heart of Gold, Harvest Moon, and Old Man. His music is considered to be rock with some folk, country, and classical influences. Mitchell is also a Canadian Singer-Songwriter, well known for her songs: Both Sides, Now; River; Big Yellow Taxi; A Case of You. Her songs derive mostly from the folk and rock genres with nods to pop, jazz, and classical. 

Neil Young and Promise of the Real in concert at Stavernfestivalen on 07. July 2016. (Tore Sætre )

Both artists were based in California and gained a majority of their success in the 1970s. Although not currently chart-toppers, they continue to make music and have a combined monthly listener count of about 10 million on Spotify.

Friday, January 28, 2022, Neil Young posted the open letter Spotify: More Music Less Sound on his website. Young’s letter started with the statement, “When I left Spotify, I felt better.” and went into detail about Spotify’s sound, or rather its lack thereof, and his disdain for the platforms part in the spread of COVID-19 misinformation. 

Photographed by Paul C. Babin

Mitchell, shortly after, followed Young in his efforts, taking her music off of Spotify in protest. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell posted in a short statement on her website. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Also featured on her website is An Open Letter to Spotify. Signed by 270 health care workers, doctors, and professors, this letter talked about Rogan’s podcast being a center of misinformation, the lack of action taken by streaming services, and the damaging effect it could have on the population being the “largest podcast in the world.”

Spotify is taking the heat from these artists and many more due to their exclusive podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. The comedian had Dr. Robert Malone on his podcast as a featured guest. Malone is suspended from Twitter due to his constant misinformation diffusion about the pandemic. 

The platform’s initial response was that it has a “great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators,” and had removed “20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic…”. Spotify has already begun taking Young’s music off of its platform but has not commented on Rogan’s podcast specifically.