“A few days ago, my wife Amy and I became aware of Neil and Daryl [Hannah] standing with hundreds of health care professionals, scientists, doctors and nurses in calling out Spotify for promoting lies and misinformation that are hurting and killing people,” the Rock Hall-inducted guitarist and Crazy Horse and E Street Band member wrote Saturday on the Neil Young Archives. “When these heroic women and men, who’ve spent their lives healing and saving ours, cry out for help you don’t turn your back on them for money and power. You listen and stand with them.”
The guitarist continued, “As I write this letter, we’ve now gotten the last 27 years of my music taken off Spotify. We are reaching out to the labels that own my earlier music to have it removed as well. We sincerely hope they honor our wishes, as Neil’s labels have done, his.”
On Tuesday, Young became the first high-profile artist to demand that their catalog be removed from Spotify, with the rocker writing to his management team and record label in a since-deleted post, “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… They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.” (The previous month, 270 doctors, physicians, and science educators signed an open letter asking Spotify to stop spreading Rogan’s baseless claims.)
By week’s end, the vast majority of Young’s catalog was off of Spotify, a move not unnoticed by Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon and Sirius XM, each of whom threw shade at Spotify but amplifying their Young catalogs.
“I support free speech,” Young further explained in an open letter. “I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”
Joni Mitchell joined her friend and fellow Canadian in protest Friday night, stating, “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. 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.” By Saturday, some of Mitchell’s music began disappearing from her Spotify artist page.
— Nils Lofgren (@nilslofgren) January 29, 2022
As a member of Crazy Horse, some of Lofgren’s recent music — like Colorado and Barn — was removed during Young’s catalog exodus, but the guitarist tweeted Friday that he also began the process of taking his own music off Spotify soon after Young did.
“We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify,” Lofgren added Saturday. “Music is our planet’s sacred weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day. Pick up your sword and start swinging. Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!) and others. It’s a powerful action you can all take now, to honor truth, humanity, and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.”