Neil Young got some unexpected support from Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera on Wednesday (Jan. 26) in the rocker’s request that Spotify remove his songs from the service, which he says is spreading vaccine misinformation via its popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
The mustachioed host of Fox Nation’s COPS: All Access tweeted, “I’m with #NeilYoung,” signaling his apparent support for 76-year-old Young’s successful effort to have the platform remove his entire catalog, which the service agreed to do on Wednesday.
On Jan. 24, Young published an open letter — since deleted — requesting that his catalog be pulled from Spotify, citing the spread of vaccine misinformation on comedian Rogan’s freewheeling podcast, on which he frequently discusses medically dubious COVID-19 theories and treatments. The show — for which Spotify reportedly paid more than $100 million — was the target of another recent letter, in which hundreds of scientists and health experts asked Spotify to remove a Dec. 31 episode in which infectious-disease expert Dr. Robert Malone promoted what they called “several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines,” including a discredited theory embraced by Eric Clapton claiming that “subliminal” messages in YouTube videos are hypnotizing the masses into blind compliance with COVID precautions.
In the letter, the 270 doctors, scientists, professors and other medical professionals asked Spotify to implement a misinformation policy as a means of combatting the misinformation on Rogan’s show. Among other comments, Rogan has discouraged young people from receiving the vaccine, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy” and promoted the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, contrary to FDA warnings against using the drug to treat the virus.
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young wrote in his letter, which was addressed to his manager as well as the co-chairman and COO of Warner Records, which releases Young’s music through its Reprise Records imprint. After Spotify agreed to remove his music, Young posted a pair of letters thanking his publisher, Hipgnosis, and label, Warner Records/Reprise, for “standing with me.” Young said Spotify represents 60% of his streaming revenue.
One person who did not line up to support Young was country singer John Rich, who replied to Rivera’s tweet with one of his own. Wrote the musician, “Personally, I’m not afraid of opposing points of view. There’s no such thing as ‘only one side of a story.'”
Though at press time few, if any, other major music figures had weighed in on the Young vs. Spotify imbroglio, Galaxie 500/Damon & Naomi drummer Damon Krukowski tweeted a pointed commentary on the dust-up. “Spotify chooses Rogan over Neil Young because they are not in the music business – they are a tech platform, and however they can get people to spend more time on the platform, that’s where they will go,” he wrote. “Amazon is not a bookstore. Spotify is not interested in the future of music.”
Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley also weighed in, writing, “If record labels + fans found out in the 90s that Tower Records was ripping off artists, using music profits to bankroll and elevate Rush Limbaugh, the shelves would have been empty. I hope more powerful artists follow @Neilyoung’s stance on toxic jock J0e R0.gan #LeaveSpotify.”
In a statement to Billboard, a Spotify spokesperson confirmed the removal of Young’s catalog, writing, “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. 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. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
See the tweets below.
Personally, I'm not afraid of opposing points of view. There's no such thing as "only one side of a story."
— John Rich (@johnrich) January 27, 2022
Spotify chooses Rogan over Neil Young because they are not in the music business – they are a tech platform, and however they can get people to spend more time on the platform, that’s where they will go. Amazon is not a bookstore. Spotify is not interested in the future of music
— Damon K (@dada_drummer) January 27, 2022
Why are some of us screaming about the problems with Spotify? Because they dominate streaming (about the same market share Amazon has of online retail), and streaming is 83% of all recorded music revenue in the US. 83%. 83%! Our recorded music economy is being destroyed by this pic.twitter.com/vft5T4LKuk
— Damon K (@dada_drummer) January 27, 2022
If record labels + fans found out in the 90s that Tower Records was ripping off artists, using music profits to bankroll and elevate Rush Limbaugh, the shelves would have been empty.
I hope more powerful artists follow @Neilyoung’s stance on toxic jock J0e R0.gan #LeaveSpotify
— Kay Hanley ♡ Letters To Cleo #DeleteSpotify (@kayhanley) January 27, 2022