In December 2021, US media rushed to circulate an open letter signed by 270 so-called “doctors”, many of whom were not direct medical providers, who urged Spotify to implement a misinformation policy towards its most popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, because of its “history of broadcasting misinformation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Grammy award-winning music artist Neil Young has demanded his music be removed from Spotify in response to COVID-19 “vaccine misinformation” on the platform.
In a since-deleted open letter on his website to his manager Frank Gironda and Tom Corson, co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. Records, Young wrote, according to multiple news outlets:
“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. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
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The Canadian-American singer, musician and songwriter cited COVID-19 vaccine “misinformation” promoted by Joe Rogan, host of the streaming platform’s most popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE). The reportedly US$100 million-worth exclusive rights to JRE were signed over by Rogan to Spotify in 2020.
Young added: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. They can have (Joe) Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Several years ago Neil Young pulled most of his music from Spotify, citing low sound quality on the service. However, when he relented in 2019 he was cited by Rolling Stone as saying: “That’s where people get music… I want people to hear my music no matter what they have to get through to do it. I’m just trying to make it so they hear a lot more and enjoy it a lot more, but sell it for the same price because music is music.”
There has not yet been any official statement from Spotify regarding whether they planned to remove Young’s music.
The JRE host, podcasting giant Joe Rogan, who himself tested positive for COVID-19 in September 2021, has been a target of the liberal media over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. His statements, dismissive of vaccination for young, healthy people, have drawn backlash from the Joe Biden administration as well.
“…Did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking?” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield had queried in a CNN interview in April 2021, adding: “I’m not sure that taking scientific and medical advice from Joe Rogan is perhaps the most productive way for people to get their information.”
Last December, in a story hyped up by mass media outlets such as The Guardian, Washington Post and others, 270 so-called doctors and science educators signed an open letter calling on Spotify to implement a misinformation policy over JRE’s “concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Casting Rogan as a “menace to public health,” the group, which closer scrutiny by The Blaze news site showed to comprise only 87 signatories that were medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine, fumed: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine. He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy,” stated the letter.
Referring to the estimated 11 million listeners of each episode of JRE, the coalition of scientists and medical professionals urged Spotify to acknowledge its “responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
The letter specifically singled out an episode in which Rogan interviewed Robert Malone, a virologist involved in the mRNA vaccine technology, who has been criticised for promoting “unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.”