Neil Young published a letter on his website Monday afternoon demanding that Spotify remove all of his music. “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. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,” he continued. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”
He took down the letter after just a few hours, but it had spread all across the internet by that time. Representatives for Neil Young and Spotify have yet to comment on the matter, and we’ll see if Rogan decides to address it on the next episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, but Young’s complete catalog remains on Spotify for now. That could, of course, change at any moment.
This is far from the first time that Neil Young has used his platform to bash a major corporation. His 1988 classic “This Note’s For You” called out Pepsi, Coke, Miller, and Budweiser by name, and the video viciously mocked pop stars like Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, and Michael Jackson for using their music in their commercials. MTV initially banned the clip, but they eventually relented and even awarded him Video of the Year at the Video Music Awards.
He took his activism a step further in 2015 when he released The Monsanto Years, a concept album about the agribusiness company Monsanto. Check out his video for “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop” from the LP where he briefly pauses the Monsanto bashing to bash Starbucks over their usage of GMOs. “From the fields of Nebraska to the banks of the Ohio,” Young sings. “The farmers won’t be free to grow what they want to grow/If corporate control takes over the American farm/With fascist politicians and chemical giants walking arm in arm.”
It’s worth noting that this video, like the rest of Neil Young’s catalog, is available on YouTube. If Young is pissed about Spotify spreading misinformation about vaccines, he might want to look at YouTube, too. To put it mildly, they’ve been less than perfect when it comes to removing videos containing lies about the effectiveness of vaccines.
Maybe all of this will lead to a new Neil Young album, The Spotify Years. In the meantime, it might be time to dust off your Neil Young CDs, cassettes, and vinyl records. They may wind up being the only place you can hear his music.