Joni Mitchell joins Neil Young in demanding Spotify remove her music over anti-vax content

29 January 2022, 12:46

Joni Mitchell (left) has joined Neil Young (right) in demanding Spotify remove her music amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the streaming service's promotion of Joe Rogan 's anti-vaccine views in his podcast.
Joni Mitchell (left) has joined Neil Young (right) in demanding Spotify remove her music amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the streaming service's promotion of Joe Rogan 's anti-vaccine views in his podcast. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Joni Mitchell is removing all her music from Spotify in "solidarity" with Neil Young amid controversy surrounding the streaming service's promotion of Joe Rogan's anti-vaccine views in his podcast.

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The music legend, best known for her song A Case Of You, has joined Neil Young in wading into a row over the streaming service allowing users to access vaccine-sceptic content.

"I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify," the Grammy award-winning singer said in a statement on her website.

"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."

The 78-year-old also shared an open letter signed by a coalition of medical professionals calling on Spotify to take action against "mass-misinformation events" occurring on its platform.

And singer James Blunt has also weighed in on the row, joking on Twitter: "If @spotify doesn't immediately remove @joerogan, I will release new music onto the platform. #youwerebeautiful".

Read more: Joe Rogan tests positive for Covid after suggesting young people don’t need jab

The news comes shortly after Young removed his own catalogue from Spotify, reportedly due to its hosting of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast - which has been known to air vaccine-sceptical views.

The open letter made reference to a specific episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, released in December in which "baseless conspiracy theories" were promoted.

"By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals," the letter said.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: Soaring energy bills to 'rise to £1,900 from April'

Following Young's reported concerns Spotify said it aimed to balance "both safety for listeners and freedom for creators" and had removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.

It acquired The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2020, reportedly for more than 100 million dollars (£77m).

Stand-up comedian Rogan, 54, has previously attracted controversy for suggesting the young and healthy should not get vaccinated.

The US podcast host tested positive for the virus back in September.

Interviewing comedian Dave Smith on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the host said that he felt the vaccine was safe “for the most part” and that “vulnerable” people should be inoculated.

However, Rogan then said that he didn’t think “healthy” young people needed to be vaccinated.

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