Joni Mitchell removing music from Spotify “in solidarity with Neil Young”; Young responds to detractors

Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in 2012; Lester Cohen/WireImage

Joni Mitchell has joined her old friend and fellow Canadian artist Neil Young in removing her music from Spotify because the streaming service continues to host The Joe Rogan Experience.  Many in the medical community have claimed that Rogan‘s podcast spreads harmful misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.

In an online message, Mitchell writes, “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Joni also posted a link to an open letter that was signed by hundreds of scientists and medical professionals asking Spotify to “immediately establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform,” after a recent episode of the podcast aired that they allege included harmful untruths regarding COVID-19.

That same letter prompted Young to demand that his music be removed from Spotify if the service didn’t stop hosting Rogan’s extremely popular podcast. Spotify granted Neil’s request, rather cut ties with Rogan.

Following Young’s decision to leave Spotify, many artists expressed support for him, while quite a few others criticized him, suggesting that Neil’s actions were anti-free speech, and that Rogan had a right to express his opinions about the pandemic and vaccines.

In response to his detractors, Young maintained in an online note, “I support free speech. I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.”

He added, “I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front-line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”

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