Spotify removed Neil Young’s music from its platform on Wednesday after he told them to choose between him or controversial podcaster Joe Rogan.
Some song from Young’s Warner Records label were removed on Wednesday after the company requested his content to be removed.
“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,” a Spotify spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
“We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic,” the spokesperson added. “We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
In his original letter, Neil Young told his record company, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both. I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
But the situation did not turn out like Young anticipated. Instead of claiming a victory for cancel culture, Spotify decided to stand with Rogan and others who choose to speak out on controversial issues based on our nation’s free speech rights.
Of course, it helps that Rogan made a deal with Spotify to bring his 11 million listeners to the streaming platform in an exclusive audio deal noted at $100 million. That’s certainly far more than Young’s classic songs are bringing in on the platform nowadays.
Plus, it’s not just Rogan. Thousands of conservative broadcasters and musical artists stream content on the platform. Even if Spotify has no political desires, conservative or liberal, they certainly don’t want to become another “go woke, go broke” example.
Instead, they are taking the perspective many Americans wish other digital platforms would take and are emphasizing freedom of speech. It’s not even about conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, but free speech or censorship.
Spotify has made its call, and it’s one to celebrate. If more platforms took this view, the nation could actually hear more of what Americans are really craving – less propaganda and more celebration of America’s traditional values.
This is just one battle among many, but it’s good news for the moment for America’s conservatives. Maybe Spotify will be able to look back at the decision as a win that will lead to more freedom for others who seek to practice their freedom of speech across all platforms in the days to come, as Rogan and other podcasters speaking out on controversial issues have won the battle over another attempt at cancel culture.