Legendary singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell has announced that she will follow Neil Young’s lead and take her music off Spotify amid concerns about misinformation about COVID.
The two music giants decided to leave the streaming service in protest against esteemed podcaster Joe Rogan, who accused them of spreading false information about COVID vaccines.
“I have decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” 78-year-old Mitchell said in a statement posted on her website on Friday. “Irresponsible people spread lies that cost people their lives.”
Mitchell, whose career spans six decades, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2021.
Her Canadian compatriot Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify earlier this week in a now-deleted letter on its website that read: “They can have Neil Young or Rogan. Not both.”
“I want you to let Spotify know right away TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” the 76-year-old Grammy winner boomed in the note.
“I’m doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines, which leads people to believe that the misinformation spread by them could cause death.”
The next day, Spotify chose Rogan and its popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
Spotify reportedly paid over $100 million to be the exclusive home of Rogan’s show. Young, meanwhile, could lose 60 percent of his streaming income because of his defiant attitude, he said in a statement on his website.
Young said he “desperately hopes other artists can take a step,” but that they weren’t expecting it. Mitchell seems to be the first to follow suit.
“I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the worldwide scientific and medical communities on this matter,” she said in her statement.
Young and Mitchell left the platform weeks after Rogan named controversial “anti-vaxxer” epidemiologist, Dr. Robert Malone, who compared the current state of American public health with that of 1920s and 1930s Germany in an episode that has since been removed from YouTube.
The episode prompted a group of 270 medical experts to write an open letter condemning Rogan’s top-rated show.
“Spotify has a responsibility to reduce the spread of disinformation on its platform, although the company does not currently have a misinformation policy,” they wrote.
A spokesperson for Spotify told The Wall Street Journal in response: “We want all of the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. That entails a great responsibility in balancing security for listeners and freedom for creators.”
The company said it has removed more than 20,000 COVID-related podcast episodes.
Apple Music hit its competitor in response, offering a “We Love Neil” album playlist on its homepage Friday morning. It also declared itself “Neil Young’s house” in a tweet late Thursday and sent at least one push notification to users promoting Young’s latest album.