Singer-songwriter Graham Nash and R&B singer India Arie are the latest stars to request that their music or podcasts be removed from Spotify, a push sparked last week by musician Neil Young in protest of dubious Covid-19 claims made on Joe Rogan’s Spotify podcast—here’s everyone who’s spoken out.
Nash said Tuesday that he “completely agree[s] with and support[s] my friend Neil Young”—a fellow member of the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—and is requesting that Spotify remove his solo recordings, citing “the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify,” according to Rolling Stone.
Arie posted on Instagram Monday that she will pull her music and her podcast Songversation from Spotify: She cited Rogan’s Covid-19 comments, said Rogan’s “language around race” is “problematic” (though she didn’t mention any particular comments) and criticized the disparity between the “fraction of a penny” Spotify pays musicians and the reported $100 million it paid in 2020 to exclusively distribute The Joe Rogan Experience.
Nils Lofgren, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, posted a message on Young’s website Sunday announcing he also removed his music from Spotify, and encouraging “all musicians, artists, and music lovers everywhere” to “cut ties” with the streaming service.
Joni Mitchell said Friday she will remove her music from Spotify, citing the “irresponsible people” who “are spreading lies that are costing people their lives.”
When Young became the first well-known artist to ask Spotify to remove his music last week, he accused the platform of “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation,” though he later clarified that he’s “never been in favor of censorship.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose Archwell Audio podcast is exclusively distributed on Spotify, said through a spokesperson Sunday that they started expressing “concerns” to Spotify about Covid-19 misinformation in April “to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis.” They are not pulling their show, which hasn’t published any new episodes since December 2020.
What We Don’t Know
Podcaster Brené Brown, whose shows Unlocking Us and Dare To Lead are exclusively distributed by Spotify, tweeted Sunday she will not release new episodes “until further notice,” though she did not specify whether the decision was linked to the Rogan fallout.
The Joe Rogan Experience was the most popular podcast on Spotify last year, reaching an estimated 11 million listeners per episode. Fallout over the platform’s relationship with Rogan amplified last month, when 270 doctors and scientists issued an open letter criticizing Spotify’s misinformation policy and highlighting a few episodes of Rogan’s podcast in which false Covid-19 theories were spread by guests. Rogan has touted antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19, though doctors advise against using the drug and say there’s no evidence of its effectiveness, and Rogan has said young people do not need to get vaccinated. One of Rogan’s guests—Dr. Robert Malone—falsely claimed getting vaccinated if you’ve already had Covid-19 can be dangerous, compared Covid-19 restrictions to Nazi Germany, and spread a conspiracy theory known as “mass-formation psychosis” that claims a large chunk of the population is hypnotized by the mainstream media.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek responded to the backlash Sunday by announcing the company will implement “changes to combat misinformation,” including adding a content warning to podcast episodes about Covid-19 and linking to accurate information about it. Rogan posted a video Sunday apologizing for the controversy, saying he “will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.”
Some celebrities have jumped to Rogan’s support amid the fallout. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson responded to Rogan’s apology video, saying it was “perfectly articulated” and that he’d like to be on the podcast. “You’re doing a great job,” singer Jewel wrote. “Keep it up.”