Neil Young’s Exit from Spotify Sparks Debate

Spotify is one of the largest streaming platforms for music and podcasts, but recently the company has stumbled into a mound of controversy. 

In 2020, Joe Rogan signed a 100 million dollar contract with Spotify, granting them exclusive rights to his podcast. Though Rogan’s podcast, ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, was the top streamed podcast of 2021, it is often viewed as highly controversial. Rogan discusses various topics on his podcasts such as MMA fights, pop culture, politics, etc. Recently many people have believed his ideas on the Covid-19 pandemic to be highly distasteful. In the time of a pandemic, topics of misinformation cannot be taken lightly, and so artists have pulled their music from Spotify to show that they do not support falsity. 

Rock icon Neil Young was the first to leave Spotify. Young explained that he wanted his music pulled because, “Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines- potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.” He declared, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” 

Since Young’s curt statement was released, many fellow musicians have joined him in his cry for transparency and scientifically-accurate information. Joni Mitchell removed her music from the platform saying, “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.” India Arie and Crosby, Stills, and Nash have also pulled their music and are encouraging others to do the same.

In recent weeks, users have been applying pressure to Joe Rogan. Clips of Rogan using racist speech have surfaced, which resulted in 70 podcast episodes being removed from the Spotify platform.

While many people are quick to pick a side, the initial decision by Young has sparked a debate amongst fans and scholars on the debate between misinformation and free speech. This ongoing debate comes at a time where misinformation, “fake news,” and hate speech have ravaged social media.

While it is unclear where these conversations will take us, one thing remains clear: words matter.

Featured image credit: