COVID misinformation prompts Joni Mitchell to quit Spotify, after Neil Young does the same

Joni Mitchell performs with blues legend BB King. Big Yellow Taxi, Help Me and A Case of You are three of his most famous songs.

Roger Ressmeyer/Getty Images

Joni Mitchell turned up the volume on a call for Spotify to tackle misinformation on its platform. The iconic singer-songwriter has said she plans to pull her work from the music and podcast streaming service over false claims about COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” Mitchell said on Friday. in a short message on its website. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people’s lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Rocker Young sparked a #DeleteSpotify movement earlier this week when he pulled his catalog from the service and quoted a letter from medical professionals criticizing Spotify and his most popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, for spreading misinformation about vaccines.

In his post, Mitchell, the artist behind songs like big yellow taxi, Help me and A case of youincluded a link to this same letter. He calls out an episode of Rogan’s podcast featuring virologist and vaccine skeptic Dr Robert Malone, points out a critical article on Malone on the fact-checking site PolitiFactand urges Spotify to establish a misinformation policy.

“By allowing the spread of false and harmful claims to society”, the letter says, “Spotify enables its hosted media to undermine public trust in scientific research and cast doubt on the credibility of data-based advice offered by medical professionals.”

In 2020, Spotify made its service the exclusive home of Rogan’s podcast after signing a licensing deal that The Wall Street Journal said was worth over $100 million.

On Friday, Young posted a note on his site emphasizing his position.

“I support free speech,” Young’s post reads. “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 supported by a platform that disseminates harmful information.”

Spotify did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Spotify faces backlash after Neil Young releases music about Joe Rogan COVID misinformation

Margie D. Carlisle