Spotify has been criticized for its lax misinformation policy and its promotion of podcast host Joe Rogan, who is accused by many of spreading debunked conspiracy theories regarding the COVID-19 epidemic.
Because of this, several artists and podcasters have decided to remove their music from the streaming service. But who has actually left Spotify?
Here’s a list of everyone who has taken down their stuff from the site as of now.
How Did Spotify Come Under Fire?
The backlash began on January 10th, 2022, when a group of 270 medical professionals, specialists, and science educators signed an open letter calling for Spotify to implement a misinformation policy to limit COVID-19 misinformation on the site.
On January 24th, Neil Young published an open letter to Spotify demanding that his music be taken off the platform. On January 26th, he published a second note. Young restated his position in this message. He also confirmed that his songs would be removed from Spotify.
This caused several other artists to demand that Spotify also take down their music. Spotify did publish a misinformation policy. However, in the eyes of many, this didn’t go far enough, leading to more controversy.
Who is Threatening to Leave Spotify?
After Young’s music was deleted, several artists expressed an interest in doing the same. Furthermore, numerous rumors circulated on the internet, naming other celebrities that might be involved.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are among them. The pair has signed a contract with Spotify to create the Archewell Audio podcast in 2020. To date, they have only released one episode of the show. Many popular internet rumors suggested that the pair would terminate their agreement.
However, an Archewell representative issued the following statement:
“Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis- and disinformation every day. Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all-too-real consequences of Covid-19 misinformation on its platform. We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”
Who Has Left Spotify?
However, a number of well-known musicians have taken their music off the service. Most notably, Neil Young, most noted for his song “Rockin’ in the Free World,” and legendary album After the Gold Rush, who fulfilled his promise and withdrew all of his songs from Spotify with the aid of his label.
Young’s collaborators and friends, including David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, among others who have considered leaving. All three musicians have outstanding solo careers; nevertheless, they have all collaborated with Young as part of the supergroups: Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Crosby & Nash.
Following Young’s decision to remove his music, these group recordings were the only thing left on the platform. However, because to this collaborative decision, no Neil Young concerts will be available on Spotify.
In a statement, the group said:
“While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences.”
— David Crosby (@thedavidcrosby) February 2, 2022
Another music legend, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, was the first to come out in support of Young’s choice. She announced her departure from Spotify on January 28th. The musician stated in a statement on her website that she would be leaving the streaming service:
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
Nils Lofgren, better known as the E Street Band’s lead guitarist Bruce Springsteen, announced that he was removing 27 years’ worth of his music from Spotify and reaching out to other labels with whom he’d performed for permission to take down their content. “In light of recent events,” Lofgro
“Neil and I go back 53 years. Amy and I are honored and blessed to call Neil and Daryl friends and knew standing with them was the right choice. We encourage all musicians, artists, and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify.
Music is our planet’s Sacred Weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day. Pick up your sword and start swinging! Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!), and others. It’s a powerful action YOU can all take NOW, to honor truth, humanity, and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.”
On January 31st, India Arie, the four-time Grammy Award winner who is best known for her 2003 album Voyage to India, announced that she would be removing her music from Spotify. “I’m not doing this because of the misinformation,” Arie explains in a statement published on Instagram. She also criticizes Rogan’s “language and message” in the podcast.
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In their Facebook announcement, power rock band Failure announced that they will be leaving Music. This statement explains the band’s choice:
“But now, with Spotify’s recent policy shift that allows COVID vaccine misinformation to thrive on their platform, Failure have decided that enough is enough.
Beyond the moral issues raised by Spotify’s COVID decision, the issue of vaccine misinformation and how it directly affects the current situation in the live music space is simply untenable.”
Which Podcasts Have Left Spotify?
Many notable figures have decided to depart from Spotify, including musicians and podcasters. Several podcast makers have decided to take their shows off the service as well.
For example, the feminist writer and podcast host Roxane Gay has announced that her show The Roxane Gay Agenda will no longer be available on Spotify.
It won’t move any sort of needle but I removed my podcast from Spotify. That’s all there really is to say about that. Onward.
— roxane gay (@rgay) February 1, 2022
Also, just after Young pulled his music from Spotify, Brown published a message on Twitter stating that there would be no new episodes of her Unlocking Us or Dare to Lead podcasts. Brown recently announced an agreement with Spotify and posted the following tweet:
I will not be releasing any podcasts until further notice. To our #UnlockingUs and #DaretoLead communities, I’m sorry and I’ll let you know if and when that changes.
Stay awkward, brave, and kind. ❤️👊🏼❤️
— Brené Brown (@BreneBrown) January 29, 2022
The hosts and editor of the popular science podcast Science Vs, Wendy Zukerman and Blythe Terrell, announced that they would be restricting the production of new podcast episodes owing to Spotify’s misinformation standards. They revealed in a tweet that they had sent a letter to Spotify’s CEO explaining that the program will only produce new episodes in order to debunk false theories.
— Wendy Zukerman (@wendyzuk) January 31, 2022
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