Spotify confirmed it had removed “A Letter Home” by Neil Young in response to the outspoken musician’s Joe Rogan interview in which he accused Spotify of using his music without consent.
Neil Young’s music was removed from Spotify after the Canadian singer made a public ultimatum to the streaming service. The removal of the songs came in response to Spotify’s decision to not release Young’s new album, “Peace Trail,” which includes a song called ” Monsanto Years.”
Spotify Technology SA confirmed the removal of Neil Young’s music on Wednesday, stating that the folk-rock legend has not changed his mind about Joe Rogan’s program.
The singer of “Heart of Gold” and “Harvest Moon” sent an open letter to his management and label earlier this week, requesting that his music be removed off the service, claiming that it is spreading false information about Covid-19 vaccinations via Mr. Rogan’s program. “They have the option between Rogan or Young.” “Neither,” he wrote.
Warner Song WMG -0.20 percent Group Corp.’s Warner Records, Mr. Young’s record label, officially asked Spotify to delete the music on Wednesday.
“We want Spotify users to have access to all of the world’s music and audio material.” “With it comes a tremendous deal of responsibility in balancing both listener safety and artist freedom,” said a Spotify representative on Wednesday. Since the start of the epidemic, the business has implemented rigorous content standards and has eliminated approximately 20,000 Covid-19-related podcast episodes, he noted.
“We regret Neil’s choice to withdraw his music off Spotify,” he stated, “but we look forward to welcoming him back soon.”
Joe Rogan is a key component of Spotify’s podcast strategy for gaining listeners and advertising money to its platform and programs.
Getty Images/Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire
The debate is a major test for Spotify’s massive investment on Mr. Rogan, one of podcasting’s most popular and divisive figures. According to sources familiar with the situation, Spotify inked a contract with Mr. Rogan in 2020 valued more than $100 million, bringing his dedicated following and profitable program exclusively to its service. Mr. Rogan is a key component of Spotify’s podcast strategy for garnering listeners and advertising money to its platform and programs.
According to persons familiar with the situation, although Mr. Young’s letter has subsequently been deleted from his website, he has been in negotiations with his label and Spotify since then, and has maintained his position.
A request for comment from Mr. Rogan went unanswered.
On his website on Wednesday, Neil Young took another shot at Spotify, urging others to join him in withdrawing songs from the platform. “I truly hope that other artists and record labels would leave Spotify and cease promoting Spotify’s harmful lies about Covid,” he said, but he added, “I can’t honestly expect it to happen.”
Mr. Young noted that Spotify accounts for 60% of his music’s streaming to fans, and that his music is still accessible to stream on Apple Audio, Amazon Music, and Qobuz, a high-resolution music streaming service. Mr. Young also expressed gratitude to his record company for assisting him in his decision to quit Spotify.
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Mr. Young had 2.4 million Instagram followers and over six million Spotify weekly listeners before his deactivation.
Mr. Rogan’s program has previously caused Spotify to get irritated. 270 scientists and healthcare experts issued an open letter to Spotify earlier this month accusing the program of “pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories” and urging the service to take action against mass-misinformation events on its platform.
According to persons acquainted with the situation, several workers voiced concerns about the podcast’s content at a town hall meeting in September 2020, citing material they believed was anti-transgender.
As the firm pursues scale in podcasting, Chief Executive Daniel Ek defended his star podcaster, stating that the company’s mission to become the “biggest audio platform in the world” necessitates accepting varied voices and opposing viewpoints.
Spotify’s “Hate Content and Hateful Conduct” policy was implemented in 2018, sparking a controversy over whether streaming platforms should penalize artists for suspected poor conduct. After receiving outcry from the music business, it reversed the regulation three weeks later.
Mr. Young will not be able to receive the royalties associated with playing his songs on Spotify, which are shared between him, his record label, publisher, and other music rights holders.
While Mr. Young’s label is the Spotify licensee and has legal authority over how and where his music is disseminated, it is common for record labels to consider an artist’s desires. Mr. Young’s cachet tends to provide them more influence over their career and creative output.
Last year, Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ltd., a publicly traded music investment firm, announced a deal to buy a 50% stake in Neil Young’s songwriting catalog. According to those familiar with the transaction, the sale was for between $40 million and $50 million. While Hipgnosis shareholders stand to profit from royalties if Mr. Young’s music is heard on Spotify and other services, music attorneys say they won’t be able to intervene in the dispute with Spotify because of the way publishing rights operate.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, streaming accounts for 84 percent of recorded music income in the United States. By far the most popular music-streaming service in terms of paid subscriptions is Spotify.
Classic melodies, such as those contained in Mr. Young’s library, have been doing well on streaming platforms as older customers sign up and younger listeners discover their elders’ favorites.
The popularity of nostalgic music grew even more during the epidemic. According to MRC Data, formerly Nielsen Music, music older than 18 months is a key growth area on streaming services, accounting for 70% of listener usage.
Anne Steele can be reached at [email protected]
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The “joe rogan monthly listeners spotify” is a Spotify playlist that has been taken down after Neil Young’s ultimatum. The playlist was compiled by Joe Rogan, and had over 2 million followers on Spotify.
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