Joni Mitchell joins Neil Young; pulls music in Spotify protest

Move against audio streaming company comes after comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast with health expert accused of spreading COVID misinformation.

Singer Joni Mitchell performs during the Stormy Weather concert in Los Angeles
Joni Mitchell's Spotify page says she has 3.7 million monthly listeners to her music, mostly from the 1970s [File: Fred Prouser/Reuters]

Joni Mitchell said she is seeking to remove all of her music from Spotify in solidarity with Neil Young, who ignited a protest against the streaming service for airing a podcast that featured a figure who has spread misinformation about the coronavirus.

Mitchell, who like Young is a California-based songwriter who had much of her success in the 1970s, is the first prominent musician to join Young’s effort.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell said on Friday in a message posted on her website. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Following Young’s action this week, Spotify said it had policies in place to remove misleading content from its platform and has removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Joe Rogan controversy

But the service has said nothing about comedian Joe Rogan, whose podcast The Joe Rogan Experience is the centerpiece of the controversy.

Last month Rogan interviewed on his podcast Dr Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist who has been banned from Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation.

Rogan is one of the streaming service’s biggest stars with a contract that could earn him more than $100m.

Young called on other artists to support him following his action. While Mitchell, 78, is not a current hitmaker, the Canadian’s Spotify page said she had 3.7 million monthly listeners to her music. Her songs Big Yellow Taxi and A Case of You have both been streamed more than 100 million times on the service.

In a message on his website on Friday, Young said “when I left Spotify, I felt better.

“Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information,” he wrote. “I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front-line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”

There was no immediate response from Spotify.

Source: News Agencies