Spotify’s Joe Rogan headache is about to get a lot worse.
Earlier this week, musician Neil Young announced that he would pull his music from the streaming service to protest Spotify’s relationship with Joe Rogan, who the company brought under its wing in an exclusive $100 million deal two years ago. In a post to her website on Friday, Joni Mitchell announced that she would “stand with Neil Young” and remove her catalogue from the streaming platform.
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell wrote. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
As one of the world’s most famous and most well-respected living musicians, Mitchell’s decision to abandon Spotify over Rogan is bound to turn some heads. And unlike Young, she didn’t have an existing beef with the service over its stream quality.
Rogan’s podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, is no stranger to controversy. In recent years, Rogan and a number of his featured guests have openly expressed transphobia, discouraged his listeners from wearing face masks to reduce Covid-19 transmission because masks are “for bitches,” and broadly spread doubt about vaccines to his massive audience.
Rogan’s show also happens to be the world’s most popular podcast, bringing in more than an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, with multiple episodes hitting Spotify each week.
Rogan regularly spotlights guests who peddle misinformation and makes no effort to fact-check their claims. His decision to host Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist banned from Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, prompted hundreds of medical professionals to sign onto an open letter slamming Spotify for profiting off of putting lives at risk as the pandemic rages on. The letter inspired Young to leave the service this week and Mitchell also linked to it in her own message.
“Dr. Malone used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have ‘hypnotized’ the public,” that letter reads.
“Many of these statements have already been discredited. Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust. These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.”