‘Don’t feel blue’: Apple Music trolls Spotify with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell catalogues

Rival streaming service jumps on backlash against Spotify over its siding with Joe Rogan in the row over Covid misinformation

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 31 January 2022 13:55 GMT
‘No hard feelings’: Joe Rogan on Neil Young, Joni Mitchell boycotting Spotify

Apple Music has continued to troll Spotify amid the row over its support for Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast, which prompted musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to quit the streaming service.

Last week, Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify over Rogan’s hosting of anti-vaccine and coronavirus conspiracy theorists. After Spotify sided with Rogan, who signed exclusively to the service in a deal worth a reported $100m, Young’s music began to be removed from the platform.

Mitchell then issued her own statement, telling Spotify to remove her music over “lies that are costing people’s lives”.

“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” she said. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Over on rival streaming service Apple Music, banners promoting the catalogues of both artists are currently placed on its website.

“Neil lives here,” one says, while encouraging fans to “explore Neil Young’s entire legendary discography”. Next to it, another banner encourages fans, “Don’t feel blue”, in reference to Mitchell’s celebrated fourth studio album.

A banner on Apple Music encouraging fans to explore her catalogue

Yesterday (Sunday 30 January), Spotify announced that it will add Covid-19 content advisory labels, in response to the ongoing backlash. The announcement came just hours after a statement was shared by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, revealing that they had opposed Spotify’s hosting of Covid misinformation since April 2021.

“It is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Sunday, without mentioning Rogan by name.

“Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time. These issues are incredibly complex. We’ve heard you – especially those from the medical and scientific communities.”

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Rogan himself has since spoken out over the uproar, insisting he is “not trying to be controversial” with the guests he chooses to invite on his show.

“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people, and have interesting conversations,” he said.

However, he added that he would “try to balance out these controversial viewpoints” from now on.

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