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Spotify Removing Neil Young After Vaccine Misinformation Complaints

Spotify isn't big enough for Joe Rogan and Neil Young as the streaming service says it is removing Young's music at the rock star's request.
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Spotify  (SPOT) - Get Spotify Technology SA Report is tapping out to Neil Young.

The streaming giant is removing Young's music after the veteran rock star complained about vaccine misinformation being spread on UFC commentator and comedian Joe Rogan's podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience."

Balancing Safety and Freedom

"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,” a Spotify spokesman said, according to the Wall Street Journal

The spokesman added that the company has detailed content policies in place and has removed over 20,000 Covid-related podcast episodes since the start of the pandemic.

Young had said in a since-deleted post on his website that he was demanding the removal of his music because "Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” said Young, who had 2.4 million followers and over six million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Rogan announced in 2020 that he was taking his podcast to Spotify in a deal valued at $100 million and he has been no stranger to controversy.

Earlier this month, a coalition of 270 doctors, nurses and scientists wrote to Spotify complaining about Rogan's podcast promoting baseless conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic.

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"The Joe Rogan Experience" has ranked as Spotify's most popular podcast globally for the last two years.

'Did anybody who uses Spotify actually listen to Neil Young?'

An episode featuring Dr. Robert Malone on Dec. 31, which went viral, was criticized for pushing anti-vax misinformation. Malone had been banned from Twitter for promoting Covid-19 misinformation.

The reaction to the announcement on social media seemed to lean toward the snarky.

"Did anybody who uses Spotify actually listen to Neil Young?" one person tweeted. "Me thinks they would be content listening to him on their phonographs and 8-track cartridge players. Anyway, Spotify -- like Lynrd Skynrd -- didn't need old Neil Young around any how."

"For a man who sung about 'Rocking in a free world' and now agrees with experimental drug mandates?!" another said. "May be onset dementia has kicked in? You’ve had your life Neil let us fight for our life and freedom of speech as you did!"

Other commenters did tweet their support for the "Heart of Gold" singer.

"Spotify pays artist close to nothing for streaming their music," one said. "I hope more bands follow."

"I stand with neil young #cancelspotify," another said.