Guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Nils Lofgren is the latest musician to pull his music from Spotify as the streaming platform continues to host controversial podcaster Joe Rogan.
Lofgren, 70, best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band as well as Crazy Horse, on Saturday joined Neil Young and Joni Mitchell as singer-songwriters who have removed their music from the streaming service to protest the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
“A few days ago, my wife Amy and I became aware of Neil and Daryl (Hannah) standing with hundreds of health care professionals, scientists, doctors and nurses in calling out Spotify for promoting lies and misinformation that are hurting and killing people,” Lofgren wrote on the Neil Young Archives. “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.”
Lofgren was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, along with other members of the E Street Band.
“We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify,” Lofgren said Saturday. “Music is our planet’s sacred weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day. Pick up your sword and start swinging. Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!) and others. It’s a powerful action you can all take now, to honor truth, humanity, and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.”
Young’s most popular songs as a solo artist, like “Heart of Gold,” “Harvest Moon,” “Like a Hurricane” and “Old Man,” have received extensive airtime on the radio for decades and have attracted millions of streams on Spotify, The New York Times reported.
“I support free speech,” Young said in an open letter that was published by Rolling Stone. “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. 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.”
Mitchell joined the protest on Friday, stating, “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.”
“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 New York Times and The Washington Post in a statement earlier this week. “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. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
Spotify could not be immediately reached for comment about Lofgren’s decision, CNBC reported.
Rogan, Spotify’s most popular podcast host, signed an exclusive podcast deal with Spotify in 2020 that has been reported to be worth $100 million, the Times reported.
Young’s criticism of Rogan came after a group of scientists, professors and public health experts asked Spotify to remove a Dec. 31, 2021 episode of Rogan’s show, according to the newspaper. That episode, featuring Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease expert, promoted “several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the group’s public letter, which was issued on Jan. 10.
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