Three more prominent musicians are following Neil Young's lead in asking to have their work removed from the streaming giant Spotify: Young's former bandmates David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. They are doing so in protest of popular Spotify podcast host Joe Rogan, who they say has been spreading coronavirus misinformation.
In a written statement sent to NPR on Wednesday afternoon, the musicians said: "David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills have requested that their labels remove their collective recordings from Spotify. In solidarity with their bandmate, Neil Young, and in support of stopping harmful misinformation about COVID, they have decided to remove their records from the streaming platform including the recordings of CSNY, CSN, and CN, as well as Crosby's and Stills' solo projects. Nash has already begun the process to take down his solo recordings."
The statement continued: "We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify's Joe Rogan podcast. While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences. Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don't want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform."
Other artists and creators are requesting to pull or have suspended their content from Spotify as well. First to follow Young was singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, who wrote on her website: "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."
On Saturday, guitarist Nils Lofgren, a longtime member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and the Crazy Horse band with Neil Young, announced that he has also asked for his music to be removed from Spotify, accusing the streaming service of "promoting lies and misinformation that are hurting and killing people."
On Tuesday, vocalist India.Arie wrote on Instagram: "Neil Young opened a door that I MUST walk through. ... I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons OTHER than his Covid interviews... FOR ME ITS ALSO HIS his language around race."
Last week, Rogan made comments about race during an interview with Jordan Peterson, a climate change skeptic and psychologist. Rogan said that he found it odd to classify people as Black based on skin tone, saying: "Unless you're talking to someone who is like 100% African, from the darkest place, where they're not wearing any clothes all day and they've developed all that melanin to protect themselves from the sun, you know, even the term 'Black' is weird."
As of Wednesday afternoon, however, India.Arie's albums remained available on Spotify.
Psychologist and author Mary Trump, who is the niece of former President Donald Trump, announced Tuesday that she is pulling her podcast from Spotify as well, writing: "I know it's not a big deal but hope it will be part of a growing avalanche." On Wednesday, in a separate tweet, she wrote: "Spotify should get rid of Joe Rogan's show not just because he spreads COVID disinformation but because he is a racist. It's yet another reason for us to #DeleteSpotify."
Some podcast hosts who, like Rogan, have exclusive deals with Spotify have also spoken up. In a statement over the weekend from their production company, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, expressed "concerns" to Spotify about the "all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform."
Another prominent host, researcher and author Brené Brown, who has two exclusive podcasts on Spotify, said last week that she was suspending providing any new content to the platform.
In a lengthy statement posted Tuesday, Brown said that she had paused delivering new episodes until she understood the situation better. "I wanted to talk to the Spotify leadership about their position, their policies, and the application of those policies," she wrote. "I met with them twice last week and once again this week. I've listened, they've listened, and my assessment is that everyone is open and learning—including me."
Brown added that since her initial announcement, she has faced an onslaught of reactions online, "driven by unfounded accusations of censorship."
She continued: "Comments like 'I'm canceling you for canceling people' and 'I hate censors so you shut up' and 'I'm burning your books because I don't agree with you' would be ironic and funny if they didn't demonstrate a complete lack of critical thinking."