Joni Mitchell boycotts Spotify over Covid 'lies'

Joni Mitchell boycotts Spotify over Covid 'lies'

Singer joins Neil Young in protest against podcast star Joe Rogan on streaming service

Joni Mitchell appears at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on Dec 5, when she was among the arts luminaries receiving lifetime achievement awards. (AFP Photo)
Joni Mitchell appears at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on Dec 5, when she was among the arts luminaries receiving lifetime achievement awards. (AFP Photo)

LOS ANGELES: Singer Joni Mitchell said on Friday she was pulling her music from Spotify over "lies" on the streaming service about Covid-19, just days after fellow musical titan Neil Young did the same.

In a post on her website, the Big Yellow Taxi singer said she was supporting Young, who clashed with Spotify over its wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

"I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify," Mitchell wrote. "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."

Mitchell's website also carried a copy of an open letter to Spotify by doctors and other scientists calling on the company to establish a misinformation policy to combat Rogan's repeated falsehoods and conspiracy theories around the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no immediate comment from Spotify.

Young, the voice behind Heart of Gold and Harvest Moon, yanked his music from Spotify this week after telling the service it had to choose between him and Rogan.

He accused Spotify of "spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death" by putting out Rogan's podcast, which racks up millions of listens.

"Spotify has become the home of life threatening Covid misinformation," he wrote. "Lies being sold for money."

"I realized I could not continue to support Spotift's life-threatening misinformation to the music loving public."

Young had over 6 million monthly listeners on the popular streaming platform. His fellow Canadian Mitchell currently has 3.7 million.

Rogan has a multi-year exclusive deal with Spotify, reportedly worth $100 million, and a massive following.

Critics say his podcast is a platform for conspiracy theories and disinformation, particularly over Covid-19.

Rogan has discouraged vaccination in young people and promoted the off-label use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.

In a statement this week, Spotify said: "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. We have detailed content policies in place and we've removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic."

"We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify," the service said, "but hope to welcome him back soon."


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