Neil Young comes back to Spotify, two years after Joe Rogan “vaccine disinformation” row

What just happened? More than two years after pulling his music from Spotify over Joe Rogan’s vaccine “disinformation,” Neil Young says he will be returning to the number one “streamer of low res music in the world.” The only reason the legendary singer changed his mind is because other music services are also now hosting Rogan’s podcasts.

Back in January 2022, Young wrote an open letter demanding that his music be removed from Spotify over his objection to Joe Rogan “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”

Around 270 doctors, scientists, and healthcare professionals signed a different open letter that same month requesting Spotify take action against Rogan. It cited a JRE episode in which Rogan hosted Robert Malone, a virologist who was involved in the early development of mRNA vaccine technology. He was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid-19.

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It looked as if Young would never return to Spotify. However, Rogan signed a $250 million deal last month that allows his podcast to be made available on other platforms, instead of keeping it exclusive to the Swedish music giant.

“Other music services [including] Apple, Amazon, Qobuz, Tidal… have started serving the same disinformation podcast I had opposed at Spotify,” Young wrote on his website.

The singer said that he cannot remove his music from all the services as it would leave fans without a way to stream his tracks. As such, he has begrudgingly decided to return to Spotify.

Young has long derided the “shi**y” quality of Spotify’s music streaming. He had removed most of his back catalog from the service before writing his first open letter as he believed the audio quality was too low, but he later reversed his decision as “That’s where people get music.”

Young writes in his latest post that he hopes Spotify’s sound quality will improve. He notes that other services such as Qobuz and Tidal that also feature his music offer high-res lossless audio.

“Hopefully Spotify will return to Hi Res as the answer and serve all the music to everyone. Spotify, you can do it!” Young said.

It’s estimated that Young has lost around $300,000 in earnings by pulling his music from Spotify. At the time of writing, his full back catalog has not yet returned to the service.

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