Joni Mitchell has told Spotify to remove her music catalogue “in solidarity with Neil Young” amid the backlash over Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Young had issued an ultimatum to Spotify and had asked that his music be deleted from the platform on Monday (24 January) over its affiliation with Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has spread “false information” regarding Covid-19 vaccines.
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” the 76-year-old musician had written in a since-deleted letter that was posted to his website and had addressed his management team at LookoutManagement and Warner Bros.
Now, Joni Mitchell has issued a statement directing Spotify to remove her music from the platform as well and extended her support to Young.
The “River” singer announced her decision in a statement titled “I Stand With Neil Young”, published on her website on Friday (28 January).
While the statement didn’t name Rogan directly, it referenced “irresponsible people” who are “spreading lies that are costing people their lives.”
“I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” Mitchell’s statement added.
Her statement also shared a link to an open letter to the streaming giant demanding it address Covid misinformation on Rogan’s podcast.
The platform had earlier complied with Young’s request and removed his music. The streaming company has a $100m exclusivity contract with Rogan, for sole rights to his podcast.
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” a spokesperson for the streaming service had told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday (26 January), confirming that Spotify was in the process of pulling Young’s catalogue at the time.
His music has since returned to SiriusXM in the US.
Mitchell, like Young, is a polio survivor.
Many fans believe Young’s campaign against Spotify and The Joe Rogan Experience is rooted in his diagnosis, suggesting he has good reason to support medical advances in vaccinating against deadly diseases.
Meanwhile, fellow musician Barry Manilow has shut down rumours that he will be removing his music from Spotify, after rumours suggested he would follow in Young’s footsteps.
The “Copacabana” singer said in a tweet on Saturday (29 January) that he did not know where the reports had come from, but they had not come from himself or his representatives.
Spotify’s decision to remove Young’s music instead of pulling Rogan’s podcast has been widely criticised online.
“If all artists were as punk rock as Neil Young maybe we wouldn’t be getting absolutely screwed by corporate streaming companies,” musician Margo Price tweeted after Spotify’s announcement on Wednesday.
#BoycottSpotify began trending on Twitter as backlash against the Swedish company increased, with several social media users sharing their plans to stop supporting the world’s largest music streaming service.
“I stand with Neil Young, with civility, with decency, with freedom of speech. I don’t stand with anti-vaxxers spreading lies. I’ve been a subscriber for years but I refuse to help pay Joe Rogan’s salary,” said one user.
“We are three years into a pandemic, millions are dead and Spotify is supporting Joe Rogan – perhaps the single biggest superspreader of Covid misinformation in the [world emoji] . Coz he brings in the [money emoji]. I’m cancelling my membership and you should too. #BoycottSpotify,” wrote another user.