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13 Mar, 2024 21:19

Neil Young returns to Spotify after Joe Rogan boycott

The aging rock star complained that other platforms now broadcast the same “disinformation” that drove him from the streaming service
Neil Young returns to Spotify after Joe Rogan boycott

Canadian rocker Neil Young has announced that his music will return to Spotify, ending a two-year boycott over the streaming giant’s refusal to cancel Joe Rogan’s podcast. Young claimed that Rogan was “spreading false information about vaccines.”

In a statement on his website on Tuesday, Young said that Spotify “will now be the home of my music again.” The folk-rock icon said that he made the decision due to the fact that Apple and Amazon – which account for most of his streaming income – “have started serving the same disinformation podcast features I had opposed at Spotify.” 

Young was referring to a multi-year, $250 million contract signed by Spotify and podcast host Joe Rogan. Under the terms of the deal, Rogan’s podcast will not be exclusive to Spotify and will be available to users of Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

Back in early 2022, Young pulled his music from Spotify after trying and failing to convince the platform to end a $200 million exclusive contract with Rogan. Young claimed that the former UFC commentator was “spreading false information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” he wrote at the time. Spotify sided with Rogan, whose podcast was and remains the most popular in the world, leaving Young to complain about the service’s sound quality and encourage his fans to migrate to other platforms.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Rogan interviewed prominent vaccine skeptics like virologist Robert Malone and cardiologist Peter McCullough, who were vilified by mainstream media outlets for opposing mass vaccination and lockdowns. Rogan also argued that Covid-19 posed no serious threat to children and touted the efficacy of ivermectin – a cheap, generic drug – in treating the disease.

Many claims by Rogan and his guests have since been vindicated. However, at the time celebrities and healthcare professionals called for his podcast to be taken off the air, with one open letter from a group claiming to represent “the global scientific and medical communities” branding him a “menace to public health.”

Spotify has yet to confirm that Young’s music will return to the platform.