A few days ago, Neil Young told his representatives that he no longer wanted his music on Spotify unless they took meaningful action against the spread of vaccine misinformation on The Joe Rogan Experience. Hundreds of doctors had previously written to Spotify urging the streaming platform to “mitigate the spread of misinformation” on Joe Rogan’s show. Spotify announced its decision last night:
Spotify is removing Neil Youngâ€™s catalogue from its service after the artist published â€”then took down â€” an open letter with an ultimatum: deal with the vaccine misinformation coming from Joe Roganâ€™s podcast, or lose his music— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 26, 2022
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Of course this is about money. They reportedly paid him $100 million to exclusively stream the podcast, which is the top pod on the service. Meanwhile, as Neil wrote in a new statement posted on his website, he stands to lose “60% of his world wide streaming income in the name of Truth” which is “a huge loss for my record company to absorb”. But they are in full support of him. In conclusion, Neil writes:
“I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the SPOTIFY platform and stop supporting SPOTIFY’s deadly misinformation about COVID.”
And it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, joins him. Neil Young is not the most streamed artist on Spotify. In 2021 Spotify’s most streamed artist was Bad Bunny, followed by Taylor Swift and BTS. Drake is up there too and so are Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. Ariana Grande also ranks super high, as does Ed Sheeran.
I’m not saying they should do what Neil has done and I’m not saying it’s sh-tty if they don’t. But I can’t be the only one who’s curious to see if there will be artists who do or if Neil Young remains on his own. Because I’m not sure how hard it was for Spotify to make this call based on Neil Young alone. I wonder if it was actually easy, at least in terms of the business case, because these people just look at the numbers. They’d only feel significant pressure if there was more weighing out the balance sheet on Neil’s side – along with the fandoms of the artists who stand with him… if there’s actually anyone who does. What’s your prediction?
Yours in gossip,