Neil Young Ends Spotify Boycott Over Joe Rogan Controversy

Neil Young has announced that his music will once again be available on Spotify, marking the end of his two-year boycott sparked by concerns over Joe Rogan’s podcast.

In 2022, Young demanded that Spotify remove his popular songs like “Harvest Moon” and “Heart of Gold” due to Rogan’s dissemination of vaccine misinformation on his podcast. However, Young clarified that his return to Spotify does not signify a change in his stance.

The decision to reinstate his music comes after Rogan’s podcast became available on multiple platforms following a lucrative $250 million deal, no longer remaining exclusive to Spotify.

In a statement on his website, Young explained that other music services, including Apple, Amazon, Qobuz, and Tidal, are now hosting the same controversial podcast. As a result, Young felt compelled to return to Spotify to ensure his music remained accessible to fans.

Young, who relies heavily on streaming revenue, emphasised that Spotify constitutes a significant portion of his income, making his absence a considerable loss for his record company. His initial departure from Spotify was motivated by his refusal to support the platform’s promotion of misinformation.

Young’s decision to boycott Spotify was echoed by fellow artists like Joni Mitchell and India Arie, who also removed their music in solidarity.

While Young’s music is not yet reinstated on Spotify at the time of writing, Mitchell’s page only features live recordings, while Arie’s music made a comeback last year.

Despite the controversy surrounding Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience” remains one of Spotify’s most popular shows. However, Rogan has faced criticism in the past, including accusations of racist language in early episodes.

Rogan’s recent deal with Spotify includes making his podcast available on rival platforms like YouTube and Apple Music. He has defended his podcast, stating that he does not intentionally promote misinformation and merely engages in candid conversations with guests.

Although Young has returned to Spotify, his statement criticised the platform for its audio quality, urging Spotify to offer hi-fi, lossless audio to its users. Most of Spotify’s competitors already provide this feature, providing higher-quality sound closer to CD standards.