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.

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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.

  • 1. Spotify is the 800 lb streaming gorilla. They are paying $100 to Rogan, and with the income he's generating, it's money well spent.
    2. Compare/contrast revenue received from Young's song catalog - it's de minimus next to the Rogan revenue.
    3. Young being the principled rock "star" that he is, probably wouldn't have pulled this stunt if he were receiving more than $1.37/month in residuals from Spotify. In other words, much needed "publicity baby" for an old Canadian rocker drifting into irrelevance with not much of a following anymore (except on Twitter).
    4. And finally - Twitter ain't reality.
  • “Both of Neil Young’s fans are truly sad and will be moving to Apple Music.”
  • I think you're missing the point here. Rogan's fans don't have to pay for the premium service - podcasts are free (for now). Young's fans are all paying subscribers voting with their wallets.
  • I love this comment. Was probably accurate. Except one of the fans stopped listening to him. Neil Young’s one fan will now be listening to him on Apple Music.
  • How gullible are people really? Seriously... I'm a big JRE listener, but I'd be a total moron to actually believe and side with everything Rogan or his guests believe. "CancelSpotify", what is this petty ****?
  • I'm considering subscribing to Spotify just because of this. I'm beyond sick and tired of this woke/cancel culture stuff. Grow up and grow a pair.
  • So it's "woke" to not want misinformation propagated now? OK then ... "Spotify stands by its decision, saying that it has policies in place to deal with COVID misinformation.". So then what exactly are they doing about it?
  • Let's go Darwin!!!!
  • pathetic attempt to stay relevant...
  • MAGA!!! freeDUMB!!! MAGA!!! freeDUMB!!!
  • Not a fan of Rogan, and don't listen to Spotify but kinda side with them on this. Spotify was put in the position of letting one entertainer decide whether they allow another entertainer. It was Young's decision to pull his catalog, not Spotify's.
  • It was Spotify's decision to allow Rogan free rein to spread anti-vax misinformation well before Young called them out on it.
  • "Rockin in the free world" but only if one agrees with Young. Nope - that way Idiocracy comes.
  • I stand with Joe! The insanity must stop.
  • Boo hoo for Neil Old and his 7 fans. You can’t demand someone be removed because you don’t like what he says. Just don’t listen. Joe has the same right to say dumb things as Neil has to to make bad music. Get over yourself Neil.