By Alice Seeley
Grammy Hall of Fame winner Neil Young has removed his music from the popular streaming platform Spotify in response to the company’s refusal to remove popular podcaster Joe Rogan’s content. Since then, several artists, including Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, and Indie Arie, joined Young and left the music streaming platform.
Young left the platform after demanding that Spotify remove Joe Rogan from their platform or remove his music. Spotify refused to remove Rogan’s content.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safeties for listeners and freedom for creators. 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,” Spotify said in a statement.
Spotify agreed to remove Young’s work from their platform but hopes “to welcome him back soon.”
In support of Young, artists Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Nils Lofgren, Tom Scharpling, Jon Wuster, Brené Brown, Roxane Gay, and Indie Arie removed their music from Spotify and more artists are threatening to do the same. These artists accuse Rogan of spreading false COVID vaccine information that Spotify needs to remove immediately.
Indie Arie cites another reason for removing her music from Spotify. In an Instagram post, Arie wrote that Rogan’s language about race caused her to remove her music from Spotify.
“I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his Covid interviews. For me, it’s also his language around race,” Arie wrote.
The “language around race” that Arie is referencing is from a recent podcast episode Rogan made with conservative author Jordan Peterson, where Rogan said it’s “very strange” that anyone would call themselves Black unless they’re from the “darkest place” of Africa. This comment was enough reason for Arie to remove her music from Spotify.
Despite the rising number of artists removing their music from Spotify, it is very unlikely that the streaming platform will remove Rogan.