Neil Young Resumes Streaming on Spotify Amidst Ongoing Disagreements

Published March 13, 2024

In a notable shift, rock icon Neil Young has decided to make his music available once again on Spotify, after previously removing it in response to podcast-related vaccine misinformation concerns. Young's removal of his tunes from the platform was initially a stance against the spread of such misinformation by podcaster Joe Rogan on 'The Joe Rogan Experience', which is hosted exclusively on Spotify.

Background of the Boycott

Back in 2022, Young took a stand when asking Spotify to drop tracks like 'Harvest Moon' and 'Heart of Gold' amid growing worries about the dissemination of vaccine misinformation on Rogan's podcast. Despite his concerns, Young has resolved to re-list his music, which includes classic albums like 'After The Goldrush' and 'Harvest'. His decision follows Rogan's $250 million agreement to distribute his podcast across various platforms, not just on Spotify.

The Return To Spotify

This return of Neil Young's music to Spotify does not imply that Young has changed his views on the matter of misinformation. Instead, his hand was forced as Rogan's podcast began to appear on other services where Young's music is also streamed, such as Apple, Amazon, Qobuz, and Tidal. Young expressed on his website that leaving all these platforms would mean his music wouldn't reach listeners at all, thus he opted to end his Spotify boycott.

The Impact of The Boycott

Neil Young acknowledged the financial impact of pulling his music from Spotify, which accounted for 60% of his streaming revenue globally. Nonetheless, he felt compelled to act against what he perceived as dangerous misinformation. Other artists, such as Joni Mitchell, also showed their support by removing their music from the platform. However, as of this writing, Young's complete catalog is not yet available again on Spotify, while Mitchell's page contains only live recordings.

Controversies and Contracts

The Joe Rogan Experience, as Spotify's most popular podcast, has often sparked controversy and discussions. Some of the show's episodes, which typically run for several hours, have drawn criticism for featuring guests with controversial or unscientific views. In light of this, Rogan found himself apologizing for using racist language in earlier episodes. His recent deal will make the podcast accessible on competing services like YouTube and Apple Music, possibly altering the exclusive landscape that contributed to Young's initial withdrawal.

Sound Quality and Future Hopes

Young still has qualms with Spotify, specifically regarding the platform's sound quality. He hopes that Spotify will eventually offer high-resolution, lossless audio similar to its competitors like Tidal and Amazon, providing a richer listening experience to users. For the time being, Young eagerly anticipates the day when all his music, in the quality it was made, will be appreciated by listeners.

Spotify, Music, Podcast