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Spotify Sold Its Soul to Joe Rogan But Where Are Neil Young's Friends?

For those of you who haven't heard, Spotify was put into a bit of a quandary earlier this week when rock-n-roll icon Neil Young called out the streaming service for allowing celebrated man-child, sixth-most talented person on Newsradio & The Man Show B-Team member Joe Rogan pretty much free range to espouse or host any heavy-duty-tinfoil hat theory he can think of regarding COVID-19 and vaccines. "Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy," Young wrote in an open letter on his website directed to his manager & record label (which has since been taken down). "I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both." Young continued, specifically pointing to the COVID misinformation that was continuing to flow from the streamer, writing, "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. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule."

One hundred million guesses who Spotify chose, and the first 99,999,999 don't count?

Image: Screencaps

In late 2020, Rogan signed a deal with Spotify worth reportedly $100M which saw the platform become the exclusive home for his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. This means Spotify has a vested interest in Rogan's podcast doing well since that translates into a nice return on their investment. And right now, Rogan splashing around the cesspool and rolling out wave after wave of verbal diarrhea is pretty damn good for business for them… thank you very much! Spotify knew what it was getting back in 2020 and it knows what's going out over its service now. The service made peace with whatever gods or deities it worshiped a long time ago or made one of the "Crossroads"-type deals for its soul- whatever metaphor works best. In the end, they got in bed with Rogan even seeing just how shitty & flea-ridden it was, and they didn't try to hide it.

So the only two things "shocking" about Spotify choosing Rogan over Young? First, that folks actually thought Spotify would ever side with Young.  And second, that it took the service that long to pull Young's music. Why do you think I found it so funny when The Always Sunny Podcast was beating Rogan for a couple of weeks? Can you imagine how much Spotify started freaking out? A non-exclusive podcast beating their golden boy? No wonder Rogan started dialing up the whackjob levels to a "Spinal Tap" respecting 11. Even now, it's still nice to know that Rogan has to look over his shoulder and be worried about three guys debating parking spaces.

But I do have to ask just one question. Where are Young's friends in all of this? Because there are a ton of folks out there in a number of areas across the pop culture landscape who have sung this icon's praises for years. We're talking famous names that wouldn't hesitate to join him on stage or have him join them in concert. Folks who've spoken for decades about the influence his music had on them as both a solo artist (with backing band Crazy Horse) as well as his runs with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Buffalo Springfield. Because we're going on the fifth day since Young first posted his letter, and except for what appeared to be a social media effort by fans to protest Spotify on Thursday? Things have been quiet. Too damn quiet. And the irony of all this is that I always hear how small the royalty checks are that they get from their music streaming? So putting aside any moral argument about doing the right thing and other "nonsense" like that, why not take a stand on a position that not only doesn't cost you much financially but could prove beneficial in other areas?

And don't get me started on just how much the entire game would change if musicians/singers, actors, athletes, etc., started pulling their financials together more to create their own services. Do you want to get Spotify's attention? Show them just how easy it would be for them to become just one in a sea of streaming services again. But it means artists having to collectively take a stand that's more than just a harshly-worded Instagram Stories video or clever hashtag. Because Rogan and Spotify have shown who they are. Now's the time to show who you are…

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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