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Neil Young and His Battle Against Spotify

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The “Joe Rogan Experience” is a podcast hosted by American commentator, Joe Rogan. He has done interviews with Elon Musk, Kevin Hart, and many more influential people. His podcasts usually include interviews, political commentary and controversial sayings. Rogan has been in trouble with the public many times due to racist and transphobic comments. Along with this, he’s had interviews with the founder of Proud Boys ( a group of white neo-Nazis) and Alex Jones, a conspiracist who believed the Sandy Hook tragedy was a hoax. Although Rogan has claimed he was politically liberal, it is contradictory to his racist statements like comparing a black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes.” So how did this contentious man get caught in a battle with Spotify and famous singer-songwriter Neil Young?

Throughout the pandemic, Joe Rogan has been one of the main sources of false COVID-19 information. One of the biggest false claims he made was when he was diagnosed with the deadly virus and he claimed to have taken ivermectin. Ivermectin is a deworming drug used for horses and dogs and has been heavily promoted by the right-wing as a COVID-19 treatment. The FDA has warned people against taking this drug due to its dangerous effects and an increase in poison control calls. In an episode, Joe Rogan said, “if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go ‘no.”’ This collection of false information led famous country-folk singer, Neil Young to speak out against it. Earlier this week, Neil Young wrote a letter to Spotify saying, “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.” This is the first time a celebrity has outwardly spoken against false COVID-19 information on Spotify and is the first time someone has threatened Spotify with an ultimatum. 

Although Neil Young is the first artist to publicly stand against Spotify, there are many more people who are unhappy with the “Joe Rogan Experience”. Earlier this year, 270 health care workers and scientists wrote a letter to Spotify saying that the podcast is “promoting baseless conspiracy theories.” So far, neither Spotify nor Joe Rogan has commented on this letter and no action has been taken. The large streaming service is now stuck between two highly influential people, Neil Young and Joe Rogan. Are they going to pick Neil Young, a songwriter that has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice and has been an influential face of many generations? Or are they going to pick Rogan, a man whose podcast has over 11 million listeners and a $100 million deal with the streaming service? We can only hope that Spotify chooses the best course of action and helps spread the word about accurate COVID-19 information.

Author’s final words and opinions:

When the pandemic started, many people were confused, scared, and lost. This was the first time in our lives where a disease had turned from an epidemic into a pandemic that has now lasted over two years. Like most of us, scientists and healthcare professionals were confused about what this thing was and it still confuses us today. However, times have changed since the lockdown in March 2020. We have vaccines, tests, and millions of resources that point us to the cold hard facts, facts that have led us to continue life as almost normal. Even with all this information, people still choose not to get vaccinated, which adds to the many patients in the ICU who are overwhelming our healthcare workers and traumatizing them even more. Then you add Joe Rogan to the mix, a man without a degree, a man who does not work for the Centers for Disease Control, feeding his millions of listeners lies. We humans love to listen to people in power, especially in times of uncertainty. Joe Rogan knows that his fans are dedicated and instead of using his power for good, he uses it to feed lies and contribute to the anti-vaccine madness that is already occurring. COVID-19 cannot be stopped by just the scientists and health care system; each person has to contribute their own part by wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, and protecting others. The only way we can overcome it is by doing it together. However, Joe Rogan refuses to do that and is encouraging dangerous practices that have been debunked by scientists numerous times. He is adding to the number of rising cases and deaths. COVID-19 is not liberal or conservative, it is a health concern. It is about protecting others by being cautious and aware, characteristics that aren’t specific to any party. Spotify needs to help people in battling this misinformation by removing the podcast that is the source of a lot of misinformation. Neil Young is helping start this fight against misinformation, and it is up to Spotify and all of us to fight alongside him.

Resources for COVID-19 Information:

Vaccine information 

Information of Coronavirus 

What to do if you test positive for Covid-19

Testing sites

Julia Stacks

CU Boulder '25

I am Julia, a freshman at CU Boulder majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. I wanted to become a victim's advocate and I love spreading awareness about important topics through my articles.
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