Spotify recently removed Neil Young’s musical catalog from its platform. The move was announced after the legendary rock artist published a condemning letter, accusing the platform of spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. In his letter, Young particularly cited the Spotify-exclusive podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, and claimed that Spotify has to choose one between him and Rogan. Spotify quickly obliged and chose Rogan, dropping him.
Honestly, there is no impact here! Though the Young vs. Spotify war has been described as a ‘culture victory’ for Rogan, it seems that there was no battle all along! Young was inspired by the open letter written to Spotify by 270 people — including scientists, professors, and healthcare professionals — regarding Rogan’s podcast. Within two days of Young’s ultimatum, Spotify removed Young from the platform, and Rogan’s position as the ‘golden boy’ of Spotify remained untouched. Young ranked 778th on Spotify’s most popular musical artist. Rogan, whose podcast still tops the charts in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and Australia, has pledged to balance the more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives.
Any positive possibility for Neil Young seems bleak, as it is unlikely that Spotify would ever exile Rogan, especially after getting him on board in May 2020 with a whopping $100 million for being exactly what he is — a constantly controversial shock-jock! It is also difficult for any musician to join Young in his threatened boycott, as musicians rarely own their own music. It’s the labels who give the final nod, and it is unlikely that major labels would permit dropping their contemporary stars from the Spotify charts, even if they support Young’s position. Even if the current top four artists of Spotify, Drake, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, and Bad Bunny, joined forces with Young and yanked their songs from the streamer, even then it’s unlikely that Spotify would bid adieu to the experience that is Joe Rogan.