Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell joined Neil Young in removing her music from Spotify in response to vaccine misinformation shared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
"I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue," Mitchell wrote on her website. She also linked to an open letter signed by a coalition of scientists, medical professionals and more calling on Spotify to address misinformation on its platform.
Young similarly criticized Spotify for its lack of misinformation policy, writing that the platform "can have Rogan or Young. Not Both."
Spotify purchased the Joe Rogan Experience podcast for $100 million USD (about $127.5 million CAD) in 2020 as part of its push into podcasting. The show is one of the most popular podcasts globally, with an estimated audience of 11 million.
An essential part of the story that's gone relatively unsaid so far is that both Young and Mitchell contracted polio as kids before the vaccine was developed in the 1950s. Some have attributed the musicians' stand to their experience with polio, which has largely been eliminated thanks to the widespread adoption of the vaccine. According to the World Health Organization, wild poliovirus cases fell over 99 percent from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to just 33 reported cases in 2018.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. According to the government of Canada's website, over 77 percent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of January 22nd, 2022.
Following Young's move away from Spotify, other streaming music platforms moved to capitalize, with Apple Music's official Twitter account tweeting that it's "the home of Neil Young" in an apparent dig at Spotify. It'll be interesting to see if a similar push happens around Mitchell's music.
For any music lovers out there thinking about following Young and Mitchell and leaving Spotify, check out MobileSyrup's music streaming explainer to see which other platforms might work for you.
Source: Joni Mitchell