Actions on Mitigating Spread of Misinformation
In a recent open letter to his manager and record label, Neil Young demanded that all of his music be removed from Spotify because of the vaccine misinformation that’s being spread on the streaming platform by podcaster Joe Rogan. The open letter was posted to Young’s website but later removed.
In the letter, the musician said that the platform could have either him or Rogan, but not both of them at the same time. The reason for his decision was because the streaming platform has supported the spread of false information regarding the Covid-19 vaccines, and potentially caused harm or death to the people that believe the misinformation . Young also requested that action be taken immediately regarding the removal of his discography from the platform, and asked for him to be informed when that would be happening.
Neil Young’s Claims
In the letter, Young further elaborated that the motivation behind his decision was the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. This podcast is currently the most popular podcast on Spotify, and one of the most listened to in the entire world. A couple of years ago, Rogan managed to sign a $100 million deal by giving Spotify the exclusive streaming rights for his show. According to Young’s letter, the podcast that’s exclusively hosted on the streaming platform has about 11 million listeners each episode. This makes JRE the largest podcast with the most influence around the globe. Young also stated that the streaming platform has a responsibility to curb the spread of misinformation on the platform, even though Spotify doesn’t have any policies regarding the spread of misinformation as of yet.
The letter was addressed to Neil Young’s manager Frank Gironda, as well as to the co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Records, Tom Corson. Warner Records is the record label that releases Young’s music through the Reprise Records imprint. The letter’s authenticity was later also confirmed by Young’s manager, who stated that the situation was very important to the musician. Several years ago, Young ended up removing most of his music from Spotify because he felt that the sound quality of the platform was too low. In the end, he changed his mind because he wanted people to listen to his music no matter what they have to go through to enjoy his songs.
Last month, over 200 scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals signed an open letter that requested Spotify to implement a misinformation policy due to Rogan’s history of sharing misinformation on his podcast, “particularly regarding the Covid-19 pandemic”. The letter also mentioned an episode where Rogan was interviewing a virologist, Robert Malone, who was involved in the mRNA vaccine technology. That technology managed to help some of the top Covid-19 vaccines but has recently been criticized for spreading misinformation regarding the vaccines.
Both of the parties in the podcast episode were also criticized for promoting unverified conspiracy theories. Those conspiracy theories included falsely claiming that hospitals were being financially incentivized to falsely diagnose deaths as being caused by the Covid-19 virus. Additionally, Malone also claimed that many world leaders were hypnotizing members of the public into supporting the vaccines and their mandates.