Joe Rogan Responds to Neil Young’s Spotify Withdrawal
Podcast host Joe Rogan has responded to the recent controversy involving Neil Young and Joni Mitchell's decision to remove their music from Spotify.
Young and Mitchell elected to have their material pulled from the streaming platform last week in opposition to Rogan's program, The Joe Rogan Experience, which has come under fire in recent months for disseminating incorrect vaccine information. Rogan responded to their move, posting a 10-minute podcast described as "Joe's thoughts."
"The problem I have with the term misinformation, especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact," he said. "Like for instance, eight months ago if you said, ‘If you get vaccinated, you can still catch COVID, and you can still spread COVID,’ you’d be removed from social media. They would ban you from certain platforms. Now, that’s accepted as fact."
Rogan specifically stated his regret for the artists' decision to leave Spotify: "I’m very sorry that they feel that way," he said. "I most certainly don’t want that. I’m a Neil Young fan, I’ve always been a Neil Young fan." As proof, Rogan went on to describe how, when he was 19, his final day of work at an amphitheater venue called Great Woods in Mansfield, Mass., was during a Young concert that broke out into brawls and small fires on the lawn. "I was like, ‘Fuck this' ... and I left. And I drove home. And as I was driving home, I was singing, ‘Keep on rockin’ in the free world!’"
He also emphasized that he has "no hard feelings" toward either singer-songwriter, stating that he's a fan of Mitchell's music as well. "‘Chuck E’s in Love’ is a great song," he said. ("Chuck E's in Love" is a 1979 song by Rickie Lee Jones, not Mitchell, a mistake Rogan later acknowledged on Instagram.) "Do I get things wrong? Absolutely I get things wrong," Rogan said. "But I try to correct them. Whenever I get something wrong, I try to correct it, because I’m interested in telling the truth and I’m interested in finding what the truth is. And I’m interested in having interesting conversations with people that have differing opinions."
Rogan cited several recent podcast guests to indicate his desire to hear varied opinions, including Dr. Michael Osterholm, who serves on President Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, and CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "I do not know if they’re right," Rogan clarified. "I don’t know, because I’m not a doctor and I’m not a scientist. I’m just a person that talks to people and sits down and has conversations with them." (Not all of Rogan's podcast episodes involve medical conversations; other recent guests include David Lee Roth, Jakob Dylan and Snoop Dogg.)
Other musicians have supported Young and Mitchell's move. Guitarist Nils Lofgren, known for his work with Young and Bruce Springsteen, also removed his music. David Crosby tweeted that he would follow suit in removing his music if it were legally possible for him to do so. (Not all artists have complete control over their catalog when it comes to streaming rights.) And "You're Beautiful" singer James Blunt joked that he would release new music on the platform if Spotify didn't remove Rogan's program.
Spotify's CEO, Daniel Ek, also released a statement, announcing that the platform would publish new rules as well as implement content advisory warnings about podcasts that discuss COVID-19. "Personally, there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly. We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users," Ek said. "We take this seriously and will continue to partner with experts and invest heavily in our platform functionality and product capabilities for the benefit of creators and listeners alike. That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we are committed to learning, growing and evolving."