From Ashley Carman, writing for The Verge…
You’ve probably seen this by now, but to catch you up if not: On Monday, Neil Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify: keep Joe Rogan or me. It can’t have both on the service.
“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,” he wrote in a now-deleted letter, according to Rolling Stone. The chief issue, he said, is Joe Rogan, Spotify’s star podcaster to whom it reportedly paid up to $100 million for an exclusive license to his show.
Yesterday, Young made good on his word and, along with his record label, removed his music from the service. Young then issued another letter on his website to illuminate how he learned of the issue, thank his label, and encourage others to follow suit. “I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the Spotify platform and stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about COVID,” he says.
This marks a critical turning point in Spotify’s company narrative. It’s no longer a music company but one committed to podcasting to the point that it’ll compromise relationships with musical artists to ensure its strategy’s success. And, to be fair, we could have assumed this would play out like it did. Who was Spotify going to pick: a musician whose heyday was decades ago or a zeitgeisty comedian who causes PR headaches but also commands a minimum ad spend of $1 million?
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