Neil Young Explains Reasoning for Removing His Music From Spotify

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images)

Nearly a year after he removed his music from Spotify, Neil Young opened up about why he made his decision to cut ties with the audio streaming service. 

As previously reported, Neil Young penned a letter to Spotify asking to remove his music from the platform. This was due to Spotify continuing to keep Joe Rogan’s podcast even though Young claimed that Rogan had been spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines,” Young explained at the time. “Potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them.”

Spotify responded to Neil Young’s request by revealing its reasoning for keeping Rogan on its platform. “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. 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.”

While speaking to Howard Stern this week, Neil Young discussed the controversy concerning his issues with Spotify. “I woke up one morning and I heard somebody saying there was some scientists saying something about COVID,” Young explained. “And how many people were dying in hospitals and misinformation.”

Neil Young Had Enough With Spotify

Neil Young then explained that he thought about the nurses and medical professionals who were “distressed” by what they heard on the Spotify podcast. However, Young didn’t mention Rogan by name. And I listened to it and they were saying he purposely is saying this stuff that he knows isn’t true about COVID and people were dying,” Young said about Rogan’s podcast and so-called COVID therapies Rogan was backing. 

“I just called up my management and said, ‘We’re out of there. Get me off,” Neil Young declared. “And we’ll be fine, and it was a little shocking because they know all the [streaming] numbers. Who cares? You know, who cares? What’s his name? [Spotify CEO] Daniel Ek? He cares about money.”

Neil Young explained that while he knew Ek initially had good intentions with his service, it ended up turning into a need for money. He also said that he was going to be fine without Spotify. “I knew I was gonna do fine. There’s Amazon, there’s Apple, there Qobuz, those are three streaming services that play hi-res. I think in the digital age we should be able to listen to great stuff, the best that we can get out of digital… Because you’re living off the music, why not pay it some respect and make it sound as great as it does.”