Neil Young gives Spotify an ultimatum: It's Joe Rogan or my music

Neil Young has just reportedly presented his record label and Spotify with an ultimatum: Either get rid of Joe Rogan's podcast or remove Young's music from the platform. The singer and musician has taken this drastic step as a response to vaccine-related misinformation. As a protest against Spotify's indifference, he requests that all of his music be removed effective immediately.

Young posted a letter addressed to his management and his record label, putting his foot down on the matter. In the letter, he said, "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." The letter briefly appeared on Neil Young's website, but it has since been removed, and as of the release of this article, no mention of the matter has been made since (by Young or his label/management).

As reported by Rolling Stone, Young is referring to Joe Rogan's podcast, titled The Joe Rogan Experience. The podcast is a Spotify exclusive and has gained a degree of notoriety for outspoken opinions which make little effort to disguise the idea that they aim to undermine public perceptions of the safety and reliability of doctor-approved COVID-19 vaccines. It's true that Rogan's podcast, which is currently the most popular such show in the world, contains a lot of information that many doctors and scientists debunk as completely fake.

Over 270 doctors and scientists protest against The Joe Rogan Experience

What is Spotify's stance on the matter? That's the problem — the company has no misinformation policy, so it technically doesn't even need to take a stand against the contents of Rogan's podcast. The podcast is widely shared on social media and has millions of listeners on each episode, but it contains a lot of anti-vaccine propaganda that fuels anti-vax movements.

Over 270 doctors and scientists signed an open letter to Spotify, asking the platform to remove or otherwise control the contents of Joe Rogan's podcast. This was caused by an episode featuring a special guest, Dr. Robert Malone, which — according to the open letter — was filled to the brim with misinformation and "baseless conspiracy theories." As such, Neil Young is not alone in his request, but he does seem to be alone as a musical artist (with music hosted on the Spotify music platform) taking definite action in refusing to support Spotify until The Joe Rogan Experience is gone.

Neil Young expressed his belief that Spotify should regulate the content that appears on it. "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," said Young in his letter posted this week. "Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy."

Most medical scientists agree that especially now, in the midst of the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, it's important to get vaccinated in order to minimize the effects of the disease, rather than relying on "natural immunity" or any other alternative. It's possible that more artists may follow in Neil Young's footsteps and request that Spotify stops supporting Joe Rogan. As of January 25, 2022, Neil Young's music is still available on Spotify — but if the letter is anything to go by, it might be gone within a very short time frame.