What does the Neil Young experience mean for Spotify?

In The News podcast: Streaming giant taking concerns over disinformation more seriously

Neil Young’s demand that his music be removed from Spotify because of vaccine misinformation spread by podcaster Joe Rogan looked doomed to fall on deaf ears.

In an open letter, the Canadian musician accused Spotify of “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them”.

Specifically he called out the Joe Rogan Experience, currently Spotify’s most popular podcast and one of the biggest in the world.

It’s me or Joe, he effectively said.


Spotify sided with Rogan and started taking Neil Young’s songs off their platform.

It was hardly much of a surprise given that Rogan had signed a $100 million (€88 million) deal in 2020 giving Spotify exclusive rights to the show.

But then, as the days past, there was a shift in the mood. Spotify started taking the concerns over disinformation – concerns not exclusive to Neil Young – more seriously while Joe Rogan addressed the issue himself. While contrite might be too strong a word, he certainly moved further than many might have thought he would.

Irish Times Arts and Culture Editor Hugh Lenihan has been following the story and he talks to In the News about how it unfolded and what it might mean for the future of the streaming platform and for the protagonists in the mini drama.

Listen to the podcast here: