Spotify’s Woes: Joni Mitchel joins Neil Young, decides to pull her music from the music-streaming service

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Spotify’s Woes Continue

Neil Young made a shocking decision to remove his music from Spotify one week ago. Young argued that the music-streaming giant has been negligent in preventing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

In a letter addressed to his management team and record label, Neil said, “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,” he added. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”

Young’s letter references Joe Rogan who has been spreading vaccine misinformation on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience. This was no surprise though; Rogan’s podcast has been marred by controversy for years.

Joe repeatedly invites guests who spread misinformation on the COVID-19 vaccine. Joe recently hosted Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist banned from Twitter for peddling falsehoods about COVID-19.

Neil Young is not the only person raising concerns over Joe Rogan’s misinformation spree. In December 2022, 270 doctors, physicians, and science educators sent an open letter requesting Spotify to stop peddling Rogan’s unsubstantiated claims following the appearance of Dr. Malone on the show.

Neil was keen to point out that Joe Rogan’s 11 million listeners per episode make it the largest podcast in the world. Hence, he has a tremendous influence on the public, and spreading misinformation is a huge step in the wrong direction.

“Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy,” the letter reads.

Now things have moved from bad to worse after Joni Mitchell announced her move to stand with Neil Young by removing her music catalogue from Spotify. “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Joni wrote. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Mitchel is one of the world’s most famous and respected musicians in the world. Her decision to leave the platform over Joe Rogan’s vaccine misinformation is bound to attract tremendous attention. Unlike Neil Young who was beefing with the service citing its poor stream quality, Joni had no issues with Spotify. 

Misinformation policy

A misinformation policy (something that Spotify doesn’t have) is crucial for any platform with user-generated content. It is true to say that controversial content gets a lot of attention and can influence people greatly. Ergo, companies like Spotify should have a misinformation policy that protects users.

While some conspiracy theories like Earth is flat, the moon doesn’t exist and all of us are in the matrix don’t hurt anyone, certain claims may be detrimental to the public. Spreading information that discourages people from taking measures to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 is dangerous and should not be encouraged. 

Neil Young’s decision may be a slippery slope prompting more artists to leave the streaming giant. It is up to the company to take appropriate action against Joe Rogan and the like.

What do you think Spotify should do to get out of this mess?  Leave a comment below.

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