Spotify to remove Neil Young music after he accused Joe Rogan of spreading Covid misinformation

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Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young’s music after the rock star called for the streaming platform to choose between him and podcaster Joe Rogan, who he accused of spreading vaccine misinformation.

The Joe Rogan Experience - reportedly downloaded almost 200 million times a month - is Spotify’s most popular, with its host having attracted criticism for his views on coronavirus, including a suggestion that young and healthy should not get jabbed.

Young told Spotify this week: "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both."

The streaming company has now confirmed it has removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid misinformation since the start of the pandemic and hoped to welcome Young back soon.

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The company said it aimed to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators”.

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” it said in a statement shared by US media outlets. “With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators."

"We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon," the statement added.

Young, behind classic rock hits such as Harvest Moon and Heart of Gold, has criticised Spotify as he claimed the streaming service risked people's health by allowing fake information about vaccines to be circulated. In a now deleted open letter to his manager and record label this week, Young said: "With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.

"Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

Joe Rogan has previously questioned the necessity of the coronavirus vaccine on his show. Credit: PA

Rogan, who contracted the virus last September, has been criticised for interviewing an infectious disease specialist who opposes Covid-19 vaccines for children.

Last April, the 54-year-old also drew fire for comments he made on his podcast when he said: “I’m not an anti-vax person. In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take ‘em. I just said, I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person, that you need it.” He later walked back the statement, saying, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a [expletive] moron, and I’m a cage-fighting commentator who’s a dirty stand-up comedian... I’m not a respected source of information - even for me.”