Spotify to tackle COVID misinformation after Joe Rogan spat
Independent

Musicians and podcasters are following Neil Young and jumping from the great ship Spotify after the platform embroiled itself in controversy by exclusively hosting Joe Rogan's podcast.

Since Young cited concerns about Rogan himself hosting guests who say some rather contrary things about vaccines and Covid,Rogan has said he will “try harder to get people with differing opinions” on his podcast while the platform’s CEO Daniel Ek said in a blog post that the service was working on a content warning for podcasts which discuss Covid-19.

Despite that, people are still cutting ties with the platform and a number of artists and podcasters have released statements putting pressure on the streaming service and encouraging others to do the same.

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Here are all the artists who have quit over the scandal so far:

Neil Young

As said, Young got the ball rolling when he told Spotify he wants his music gone.

In a statement released on his website last week that Spotify had become “a very damaging force” for “life-threatening Covid misinformation”.

“I realized I could not continue to support Spotify’s life-threatening misinformation to the music-loving public" he said.

Since then, he has moved to Amazon instead - which has not been without its own controversies.

Joni Mitchell

After Young, Mitchell was the second major artist to say she had had enough.

“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

She also referenced an open letter signed by doctors and medical professionals warning that Rogan's content promotes "baseless conspiracy theories".

Stewart Lee

Comedian Lee has announced he is removing his stand-up albums from the streaming service over "lies" he said it has platformed.

In a statement given to Chortle, he said: “I am fully aware this will make no financial difference to Spotify whatsoever, but for too long internet platforms have been able to spread lies with impunity, free from the checks and balances that govern traditional publishers and broadcasters, and their efforts to correct this still do not go far enough.

“Perhaps artists big and small can band together to do something to change this where the money men won’t.

Nils Lofgren

The guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band also pulled his catalogue of tunes from the platform.

“Neil and I go back 53 years,” Lofgren said in a statement on his website.

“We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify. ... Pick up your sword and start swinging! Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!), and others. It’s a powerful action YOU can all take NOW, to honor truth, humanity and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.”

Brene Brown

No more podcasts will be released by Brown, according to a tweet from her:

Roxane Gay

Then there's writer Roxane Gay who won't be podcasting on the platform anymore:

Graham Nash

One of Young's former bandmates singer Nash has also left the building. “I am requesting that my solo recordings be removed from the service,” Nash said in a statement. “There is a difference between being open to varying viewpoints on a matter and knowingly spreading false information which some 270 medical professionals have derided as not only false but dangerous."

David Crosby and Stephen Stills

Another two of Young's bandmates announced plans to “remove their collective recordings from Spotify” in a joint statement.

Wendy Zukerman and Blythe Terrell

These two are involved in the "Science Vs" podcast Spotify is home to. But they plan to limit their production on new episodes because they do not believe Spotify’s rules regarding misinformation go far enough.

In an open letter to Spotify's CEO, they wrote: "Spotify's support of Joe Rogan's podcast has felt like a slap in the face.

"Rogan's show leaves the audience with a skewed and inaccurate view of the Covid-19 vaccines. And Spotify has done little to address this."

India Arie

R&B artist Arie took to Instagram to announce she was cutting ties with Spotify. Unlike others, she brought up a different issue with Rogan. "It's also his language around race," she wrote.


Whether more will follow is something we will see in time.


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