Updated Feb 2, 2022 - Economy

7 musicians boycotting Spotify over Joe Rogan controversy

India Arie

Singer India.Arie performs on stage during the 2019 Black Girls Rock! at NJ Performing Arts Center on Aug. 25, 2019. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

A growing number of musicians have recently announced they are removing their music from Spotify over COVID-19 misinformation on Joe Rogan's podcast.

Driving the news: They join Neil Young, who last week became the first high-profile artist to boycott Spotify because of content moderation issues.

The artists boycotting Spotify include:

1. Neil Young

  • “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," Young wrote in a letter last week asking for Spotify to remove his music.
  • At the time, a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement that the platform regrets Young's decision, but it hopes "to welcome him back soon."

2. Joni Mitchell

  • Joni Mitchell last Friday said that she would also remove her music from Spotify "in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue."

3. Nils Lofgren

  • Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren announced in a letter on Young's website Saturday that he was also joining the boycott over vaccine misinformation.
  • Lofgren said he stood with health care professionals, scientists and others in calling out Spotify for promoting vaccine misinformation.
  • "When these heroic women and men, who’ve spent their lives healing and saving ours, cry out for help you don’t turn your back on them for money and power. You listen and stand with them," he wrote.

4. India Arie

  • Singer India Arie announced on Instagram Monday that she too is having her music and podcast removed from the platform, citing concerns about Rogan's past comments about race as well as COVID-19.
  • “Neil Young opened a door that I must walk through,” she wrote.
  • "I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his Covid interviews. For me, it’s also his language around race."

5. Graham Nash

  • Singer-songwriter Graham Nash announced via instagram on Tuesday that "having heard the Covid disinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify, I completely agree with and support my friend, Neil Young."
  • "I am requesting that my solo recordings be removed from the service," he added in a statement, per Variety.

6. David Crosby

  • David Crosby, alongside Nash and Stephen Stills — all three of whom are former Young's former bandmates — confirmed in a statement to NPR Wednesday that Spotify they have "requested that their labels remove their collective recordings from Spotify."
  • "In solidarity with their bandmate, Neil Young, and in support of stopping harmful misinformation about COVID, they have decided to remove their records from the streaming platform including the recordings of CSNY, CSN, and CN, as well as Crosby's and Stills' solo projects," the statement read.
  • It added that Nash had already begun the process of removing his solo recordings.

7. Stephen Stills

  • "We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify's Joe Rogan podcast," the trio said in the statement.
  • "Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don't want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform."

The big picture: Responding to the controversy on Sunday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek doubled down on the platform's commitment to "creator expression" and vowed to be more transparent about its rules, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.

  • Spotify did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment on Tuesday.
  • In a video posted to Instagram Sunday night, Rogan denied that he promoted misinformation and said he would "try harder to get people with differing opinions on" his show and "do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics."

Go deeper: Why Neil Young's Spotify standoff matters to the music industry

Go deeper