Joni Mitchell has become the second artist to ask that their music be pulled from streaming service Spotify this week, with the musical legend throwing her support behind her old The Last Waltz pal Neil Young’s efforts to distance himself from the company over accusations that it propagates medical misinformation.
This is, of course, about Joe Rogan. (When textbooks of early 21st century history are written, Rogan’s big, guileless, raised-on-UFC face will likely be staring out at us on the cover, “Just askin’ questions”.) In her brief statement about the removal, posted on her personal web site, Mitchell didn’t namecheck Rogan specifically—but she did link to a recent letter signed by 270 physicians calling out The Joe Rogan Experience (and via it, Spotify) for providing a platform for vaccine misinformation spreader Dr. Robert Malone. Mitchell’s own statement, meanwhile, is straightforward and clear:
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.
(Fun fact: Both Joni Mitchell and Neil Young suffered, as kids, from polio—a disease rendered irrelevant in modern times thanks to a robust and publicly supported vaccination program.)
Mitchell has largely retired from music at this point, with her most recent album, Shine, arriving back in 2007. That being said, she’s still, y’know, Joni Mitchell; hers is the kind of musical library you generally want to have hanging around when you’re purporting to be an irreplaceable audio resource
Yesterday, The Verge published a leaked list of Spotify’s medical misinformation rules, allowing the general public to see how the service can get away with claiming Rogan’s show hasn’t violated said policies, because he’s never said, like, “COVID-19 is fake so let’s all drink bleach.”
Meanwhile, Young’s old supergroup bandmate David Crosby posted on Twitter last night that he’d like to pull his music from Spotify in solidarity, but he doesn’t have control over its streaming distribution in order to effect the move.