Spotify to Honour Neil Young’s Request to Pull His Music

Andy Greene, Rolling Stone:

Neil Young posted a since-deleted letter to his management team and record label demanding that they remove his music from Spotify. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” he wrote. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”

“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” he continued. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.” Young is referencing the steady stream of misinformation about vaccines that Joe Rogan has peddled on The Joe Rogan Experience. Last month, 270 doctors, physicians, and science educators signed an open letter asking Spotify to stop spreading Rogan’s baseless claims.

Young posted his letter on Monday; today, he announced that Warner Brothers would acquiesce to his demands and pull his catalogue from Spotify. But much of the coverage does not frame it this way — at least, not in headlines. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, and Hollywood Reporter — among others — all chose to frame the story as Spotify removing Young’s music from its library. It is a subtle difference, but I think it meaningfully shifts the interpretation of this story from Young’s impetus to Spotify’s. I think a headline like the one Buzzfeed News ran with is more accurate.

It is another example of a company’s many interests becoming a source of intra-corporate risk.

Previously: Spotify removed a bunch of episodes of Rogan’s podcast in April, shortly after acquiring it.