Spotify claims it is removing popular U.S. singer Neil Young’s music in response to a letter he wrote condemning the platform for allowing conservative commentator Joe Rogan to promote COVID-19 mis- and disinformation on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

Neil Young gave the music streaming platform a choice: his music or Joe Rogan, and the platform chose Rogan.

A spokesperson for Spotify told The Hollywood Reporter that “we have detailed content policies in place, and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify.”

However, Rogan’s guests and comments he has made himself are clearly promoting COVID-19 mis- and disinformation. Still, Rogan is Spotify’s most popular podcaster, which also makes him one of their most profitable.

Young’s music is still listed on the platform, but that will not remain the case for much longer. His request is not the first time people have been angry over Spotify’s decision to continue to stand behind Rogan. Two hundred and seventy scientists and medical experts wrote a letter to Spotify condemning them for allowing Rogan to continue spreading mis- and disinformation on his platform.

Streaming giant Spotify hopes to accelerate its presence in the audiobook sector
Streaming giant Spotify hopes to accelerate its presence in the audiobook sector AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE

The “Rockin’ In The Free World” singer acknowledged that Spotify represents 60% of his music streaming “to listeners around the world” but also said the Warner Brothers-Reprise Records stands with him in his decision. However, he also acknowledged that the decision to remove his music would be a huge loss for them to absorb.

He also wrote that he hopes “more artists and record companies will move off the SPOTIFY platform and stop supporting SPOTIFY’s deadly misinformation about [COVID-19].” To add insult to injury, Young also said that Spotify “continues to peddle the lowest quality in music reproduction. So much for art.”

Though many are deeply concerned about the message Rogan is spreading with his huge platform, it is unclear if anything, who or what, would cause Spotify to remove Rogan’s podcast from their platform.