Recording artist Neil Young thought he could topple Joe Rogan’s podcasting empire, but instead, he cost himself 60 percent of his own revenue stream by cutting ties with Spotify.
Spotify refused to take action against their most profitable star in Rogan and forced Young to follow through on his defiant claim to withdraw his music from the service as a form of protest against “COVID misinformation” promoted by Rogan.
First reported on Wednesday via the Washington Post, Spotify is in the process of removing Young’s catalog of music, per his public request.
Young’s discography has been available on the day of the announcement and is expected to segue off of the music streaming service in the coming days, according to the artist’s representation.
The move is estimated to cost Young more than half of his revenue, which he believes pales compared to removing Rogan from Spotify.
“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, [The Joe Rogan Experience], which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,” read the statement posted on Young’s website. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” the message added.
Young’s catalog averages roughly six million monthly listeners, while Rogan garners nearly 200 million.
Spotify has been forced to defend its polemic podcaster since agreeing to a licensing deal intended to feature “The Joe Rogan Experience” exclusively on the platform. The agreement totaled a $100 million payday for Rogan.
While people have demanded Rogan’s de-platforming over claims of transphobia or COVID misinformation, his traction with podcast audiences has been deemed too great a loss for companies to afford. And the claims have mostly fizzled out.
Spotify has repeatedly made the business decision to stick with Rogan, but the triggered Young put too much stock in his own political beliefs and ultimately failed to topple Rogan’s widespread podcast — where he hosts a variety of opinions on the pandemic and vaccines.
The streaming service released a statement on their decision to remove Young’s music, contrary to his ultimatum.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” a Spotify spokesman noted.
“With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
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