People #CancelSpotify as it ditches Neil Young songs over a Joe Rogan spat

Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan (Image credit: The Joe Rogan Experience)

What you need to know

  • Twitter is full of people canceling Spotify over Neil Young.
  • Neil Young told Spotify to remove his music over concerns that Joe Rogan is spreading "fake information" about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Spotify has begun to remove Neil Young songs from its platform.

We truly are in the strangest timeline amid news that Spotify is removing Neil Young's songs from its platform over a disagreement about Joe Rogan. But here we are, and those songs are disappearing as of Thanos snapped his big purple fingers all over again.

The backstory is as weird as it sounds. First, Neil Young told Spotify that he wanted all of his songs to be removed from the platform because "Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them." Young was of course talking about Joe Rogan and his podcast's history with misinformation relating to vaccines.

Spotify apparently sided with its cash cow, keeping Rogan's podcast in play and ditching everything with Young's name on it. And the internet isn't happy — hence the #CancelSpotify hashtag that's currently doing the rounds on Twitter. Someone at Apple Music is sitting watching the subscriber counter go crazy right about now.

Spotify stands by its decision, saying that it has policies in place to deal with COVID misinformation.

"We want all the world's music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. 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, but hope to welcome him back soon," a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.

There is little chance people leaving Spotify for Apple Music will make a huge dent in the overall subscriber counts of course, but it's always interesting to see the kinds of things that will make people switch like this. Apple Music won't be the only winner here, either. YouTube Music and Amazon Music are fine services as well — although Apple Music is still perhaps the best iPhone music streaming service around right now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.