When Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum — him or Joe Rogan — the streaming giant picked Rogan.
Big mistake, say Young’s fans.
The veteran musician‘s supporters have flooded social media with messages condemning Spotify after the platform opted Wednesday to keep Rogan’s podcast over Young’s music.
The “Heart of Gold” hitmaker threatened to cut ties with Spotify earlier this week while accusing the streamer of spreading “false information” about the coronavirus by platforming Rogan. During the pandemic, Rogan and his popular podcast have earned a reputation for fueling conspiracy theories about COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
“Hey, Hey, My, My, Spotify picked the wrong guy,” tweeted stand-up comedian Noel Casler, invoking Young’s 1979 track.
“@Spotify has chosen money over morality by choosing to remove Neil Young’s entire music catalog over removing propaganda,” tweeted singer-songwriter Ricky Davila. “What a huge shameful disgraceful mistake.”
Some encouraged their followers join them in declaring their loyalty to Young and “send a CLEAR message to Spotify NOW!” Others went so far as to follow the rock legend’s lead, resolving to “uninstall Spotify” all together.
“When a music streaming service privileges Joe Rogan over Neil Young, you know you don’t want to have anything to do with them,” tweeted producer Barbara Malmet. “Boo @Spotify glad I never listen to you.”
On Wednesday, Young made it clear he wasn’t bluffing, and Spotify released a statement defending its choice to continue streaming “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” the company said.
“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.”
In an open letter shared Wednesday on his website, Young challenged “other artists and record companies” to “move off the SPOTIFY platform and stop supporting SPOTIFY’s deadly misinformation about COVID.”
“I want to thank my truly great and supportive record company Warner Brothers – Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify,” Young added.
“Spotify represents 60% of the streaming of my music to listeners around the world … Yet my friends at WARNER BROTHERS REPRISE stood with me, recognizing the threat the COVID misinformation on SPOTIFY posed to the world — particularly for our young people who think everything they hear on SPOTIFY is true. Unfortunately it is not.”
On Thursday, Variety reported that broadcasting company SiriusXM wasted no time relaunching its “Neil Young Radio” channel after the singer pulled his catalog from Spotify.
“When you have an opportunity to present an iconic artist still at the height of his creativity, you don’t hesitate to do it, again,” said Steve Blatter, SiriusXM’s senior vice president and general manager of music programming, in a statement to Variety.
“Outspoken, brave, and a true music icon, Neil Young is in a rare class of artists, and we are honored to collaborate with him.”
See more tweets supporting Young’s stand below.