Apple Music jumped on the opportunity to take a very public dig at Spotify by bragging that it was ‘the home of Neil Young,’ after its streaming rival agreed to remove the singer’s albums over his dispute with controversial podcaster Joe Rogan.
Young, 76, has accused Rogan of spreading misinformation about COVID vaccines and called on Spotify to take down his songs, unless the Swedish media services provider agrees to stop carrying The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
A day after Spotify announced that it will comply with Young’s demand to remove his records from the sharing platform, Apple Music tweeted on Thursday night: ‘The home of Neil Young. Listen to his entire catalog on Apple Music.’
The tweet featured a link offering access to Young’s ‘artist’ page on Apple Music’s website and a slideshow showcasing the prolific musician’s many album covers.
Apple Music took a swipe at its rival Spotify, bragging on Twitter that it was ‘the home of Neil Young’
The trolling came a day after Spotify agreed to remove Young’s music from its platform over his row with Joe Rogan, who has been promoting vaccine hesitancy on his podcast
On Apple Music’s app, the streaming service went out of its way to tout Young’s playlists and albums under the banner ‘We Love Neil.’
Meanwhile, Young continued his crusade against Spotify, publishing an open letter on his personal website on Friday, which opened with the words: ‘When I left SPOTIFY, I felt better.’
The outspoken recording artist alleged that Spotify eegrades the quality of sound by 95 per cent so it could carry more content.
‘AMAZON, APPLE MUSIC and Qobuz deliver up to 100% of the music today and it sounds a lot better than the s****y degraded and neutered sound of SPOTIFY,’ Young fumed. ‘If you support SPOTIFY, you are destroying an art form.’
Turning his attention to his row with Rogan over the podcaster’s negative views on COVID vaccination, Young wrote: ‘I support free speech. I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.
‘I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.’
Rogan, 54, has used his public platform to discourage vaccination in young people and promote the use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.
In response to Young’s ultimatum, Spotify has agreed to remove his songs from its platform, where the singer had 2.4 million followers and over six million monthly listeners.
‘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,’ the streaming company’s representative told Variety.
‘We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.’
Rogan has not commented on Young’s demand.
Young wrote on his site on Friday that he feels better after leaving Spotify
Young previously demanded that Spotify choose between keeping his music on his platform, of Rogan’s popular podcast, where he has been promoting vaccine hesitancy
But the singer sold 50 percent of his catalogue to U.K. investment fund Hipgnosis Songs last year, reportedly for $150 million, and it remains unclear whether the split ownership of Young’s catalogue means he has the right to make this demand.
In a now-deleted letter that the singer posted online on Tuesday, he specifically took aim at comedian and podcaster Rogan, who signed a $100 million deal with Spotify in May 2020, giving them exclusive rights to his show The Joe Rogan Experience.
‘With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE [Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,’ he writes.
‘Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.’
‘I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,’ continued Young, who is married to Blade Runner actress Daryl Hannah, 61.
‘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.
‘Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule,’ he adds.
Young’s Spotify page was still up as of 5.30pm on Wednesday and the folk-rock singer is listed as having 6,086,608 monthly listeners with his most-played song, ‘Heart of Gold,’ raking in 235,931,578 listens.
Young’s hits also include ‘Harvest Moon,’ ‘Old Man’ and ‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),’ all of which have over 100 million listens on Spotify.
Young’s letter was addressed to Frank Gironda, Young’s manager, and Warner Records, which releases his work through Reprise Records.
Gironda confirmed the letter to the Daily Beast, adding: ‘It’s something that’s really important to Neil. He’s very upset … we’re trying to figure this out right now.’
Politicians, celebrities and bloggers split Twitter in a war of Young vs. Rogan following the news about Young’s actions.
Donald Trump Jr. slammed Young on Twitter, saying that he doesn’t own the rights to his music anymore – which is only partially true. Earlier this month, Young sold 50% of the publishing rights to his entire song catalog to Hipganosis Songs Fund, a UK-based investment fund, in a reportedly $150 million deal.
Trump Jr. shared a photo of Neil Young in former president Donald Trump’s office with the caption: ‘So Neil Young pulled his letter to Spotify because it seems he doesn’t even own his music portfolio anymore & therefore has no control. That checks out because he was in our offices a decade ago trying to sell it. We passed! I know because I think I took this pic in DJTs office!’
‘Neil Young hasn’t listened to a single hour of Rogan’s podcast, and neither have all the NPCs on here obediently expressing their support. Anyone with half a brain who actually listens to Rogan’s show knows the media’s portrayal of what is discussed is malevolently wrong,’ Paul Joseph Watson, a far-right YouTuber, claimed on Twitter.
Conservative blogger Harrison Krank mocked Young for having less of a following on Spotify than Joe Rogan. ‘Neil Young, who has 6,057,481 monthly listeners, thinks he has the influence to bring down Joe Rogan, who has 200 million people listening monthly,’ he tweeted.
Trump-endorsed author Nick Adams shared a similar sentiment, tweeting: ‘Neil Young is 76 years old and hasn’t been relevant in 40 years, but somehow he thinks he can demand Spotify choose between him and the most popular podcast in the world. Joe Rogan is going to win this battle every time.’
Others lauded Neil Young for taking a stand, including feminist and LGBTQ activist Amy Siskind. ‘Neil Young is a hero. That’s all. That’s the tweet,’ she tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
And Rosanna Arquette, actress and daughter of Patricia Arquette, also commended Young and tweeted: ‘I respect Musicians with integrity like Neil Young.’
Meanwhile, the Twitter account for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah joked about Spotify allegedly not paying its artists adequately for their content. ‘Neil Young is gonna regret this when his monthly Spotify checks for $1.37 stop rolling in,’ the tweet read.
Young has been an advocate of the COVID-19 vaccines in the past, most recently when he cancelled his appearance at the Farm Aid concert in August 2021, citing that the event could be a super spreader for the Delta variant at the time.
Neil Young, who is married to American actress and environmental activist Daryl Hannah (pictured together in 2018), added: ‘I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.’
A total of 270 experts and medical professionals called on Spotify to adopt a misinformation policy after Joe Rogan (pictured) hosted the controversial Dr Robert Malone last month
Young had previously removed most of his music from Spotify in 2015 over ‘sound quality’ issues, but he ‘ultimately relented,’ returning to Spotify in 2016, Rolling Stone reported.
“I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution” he wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It’s bad for my music.” He launched his own music streaming platform, called Pono, but shut it down in 2017 as it failed to gain traction.
Young instead shifted to his own website, Neil Young Archives, which streams his music for between $19.99 (“Classic”) and $99.99 (“Patron”) each year.
Young is not the only artist to pull his music from Spotify. In 2015, Prince also removed his songs from the streaming service in order to negotiate the rights to his music.
Prince’s music returned to Spotify in 2017 nearly a year after his death in 2016.
In 2014, Taylor Swift famously removed her music from Spotify, claiming the streaming service did not provide enough money for artists. The singer returned to the service in 2017 after her management agreed to distribute their Spotify revenue from her songs to their other artists.
Young’s letter is not the first time Spotify has faced criticism for its partnership with Rogan.
Young’s demand comes just weeks after Spotify was lobbied in a letter by 270 ‘doctors’ to adopt a misinformation policy after the comedian hosted the controversial Dr. Robert Malone.
However, days after the letter emerged, it was revealed that not all the 270 were, in fact, doctors.
The letter-signers were made up by engineers, podcasters and teachers, as well as a veterinarian, a dentist, a social worker and several psychologists.
During a three-hour-and-six-minute interview on the now-viral episode #1,757 of The Joe Rogan Experience, Malone compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany and said today’s society was suffering from a ‘mass formation psychosis’ over the use of vaccines.
He also claimed to be part of the team that invented the mRNA technology used in the Covid-19 jab and said pharmaceutical companies administering vaccines – such as Pfizer and Moderna – have ‘financial conflicts of interest.’
During a three-hour and six-minute interview on the now-viral episode #1757 of The Joe Rogan Experience, Malone (pictured on the show) compared the US to Nazi Germany and said today’s society was suffering from a ‘mass formation psychosis’ over the use of vaccines
The 61-year-old doctor’s account was suspended and Twitter cited a violation of the platform’s rules
Hundreds of medical professionals have fact-checked Malone and demanded accountability from Spotify.
In an open letter, they said: ‘With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.
‘Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.’
The letter claims Rogan has a penchant for ‘broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’ and that the episode with Malone promoted ‘baseless conspiracy theories,’ including ‘an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized the public.’
Rogan also drew fury from Dr. Anthony Fauci in April when he claimed on his podcast that there’s no need for fit, young people to get vaccinated, which the nation’s top infectious disease expert called ‘selfish and ill-informed.’
‘You’re talking about yourself in a vacuum then. You’re worried about yourself getting infected and likelihood that you’re not going to get any symptoms. But you can get infected and will get infected and put yourself at risk,’ Fauci said on the Today Show at the time.
‘And even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak… and you may inadvertently and innocently infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome,’ he continued.
Read the full letter sent to Spotify – accusing Joe Rogan’s episode with Dr Robert Malone of ‘damaging public trust in scientific research’
An Open Letter to Spotify: A call from the global scientific and medical communities to implement a misinformation policy:
On Dec. 31, 2021, the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), a Spotify-exclusive podcast, uploaded a highly controversial episode featuring guest Dr. Robert Malone (#1757).
The episode has been criticized for promoting baseless conspiracy theories and the JRE has a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals. JRE #1757 is not the only transgression to occur on the Spotify platform, but a relevant example of the platform’s failure to mitigate the damage it is causing.
We are a coalition of scientists, medical professionals, professors, and science communicators spanning a wide range of fields such as microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and neuroscience and we are calling on Spotify to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform.
With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Though Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no 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.
In episode #1757, Rogan hosted Dr. Robert Malone, who was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. Dr. Malone used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have “hypnotized” the public.
Many of these statements have already been discredited. Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust. These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.
The average age of JRE listeners is 24 years old and according to data from Washington State, unvaccinated 12-34 year olds are 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than those who are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Malone’s interview has reached many tens of millions of listeners vulnerable to predatory medical misinformation. Mass-misinformation events of this scale have extraordinarily dangerous ramifications.
As scientists, we face backlash and resistance as the public grows to distrust our research and expertise. As educators and science communicators, we are tasked with repairing the public’s damaged understanding of science and medicine.
As physicians, we bear the arduous weight of a pandemic that has stretched our medical systems to their limits and only stands to be exacerbated by the anti-vaccination sentiment woven into this and other episodes of Rogan’s podcast.
This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform.
We, the undersigned doctors, nurses, scientists, and educators thus call on Spotify to immediately establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform.