Despite Spotify’s attempts to stave off the controversy of their choosing to continue to support their $100 million podcast deal with vaccine misinformation promoter Joe Rogan — rather than the musical artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell on whose creative endeavors on which they built their business — even more musicians are demanding that their songs be removed from the streaming platform to protest Spotify’s refusal to prevent harmful health misinformation to be disseminated on their service.
Today, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills have joined their on-and-off partner Neil Young in requesting that their music be removed from the Spotify library.
The classic folk-rock trio announced their intentions in a statement provided to NPR that stated:
“David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills have requested that their labels remove their collective recordings from Spotify. In solidarity with their bandmate, Neil Young, and in support of stopping harmful misinformation about COVID, they have decided to remove their records from the streaming platform including the recordings of CSNY, CSN, and CN, as well as Crosby’s and Stills’ solo projects. Nash has already begun the process to take down his solo recordings.”
The musicians made clear that they not only support their long-time musical colleague Young in his principled stance against the streamer but also feel strongly about the dangerous misinformation that the platform is allowing to be spread through the Rogan podcast.
“We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify’s Joe Rogan podcast. While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences. Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don’t want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform.”
Crosby, Stills, and Nash join rocker Nils Lofgren — also a frequent collaborator of Young as a member of Crazy Horse in addition to his solo work and his role as a guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band — and neo-soul chanteuse India Irie in requesting that their songs be removed from Spotify.
Lofgren said that the streaming service was “promoting lies and misinformation that are hurting and killing people,” while India Arie explained her stance in an Instagram post that explained that she also objected to Rogan’s comments on race in America.
Besides musicians, other podcast hosts associated with Spotify have also expressed their concerns with the company’s policies.
Mary Trump, the estranged niece of the former president, announced yesterday that she was withdrawing her podcast from the platform, saying “I know it’s not a big deal but hope it will be part of a growing avalanche.”
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who also have an exclusive podcast deal with Spotify released a statement expressing their “concerns” to the streaming service about the “all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform.”
So far, Spotify has refused to remove Rogan’s offending podcasts from its platform. but has agreed to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about Covid-19.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said that the company is “trying to balance creative expression with the safety of our users.”
Meanwhile, according to CNN, the company “saw its stock drop more than 20% after hours on Wednesday following its fourth-quarter earnings, which presented weak guidance for its growth.”
It remains to be seen if the artist boycott spearheaded by Neil Young will continue to grow as additional artists join in the days ahead but with many musicians already frustrated by the low per-stream royalty rate that they earn from Spotify, it seems like discontent among artists is rising.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.