In Their Own Words: Why Artists Are Leaving Spotify

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Oh what a chain of events Neil Young started.

Late last month, the legendary singer-songwriter penned a letter about his doubts about Spotify and his popular podcast from host Joe Rogan, which he posted on his website.

Following in the footsteps of hundreds of doctors and medical professionals, Young spoke out against Rogan’s misinformation regarding COVID-19 and slammed Spotify for hosting Rogan’s show.

Within 7-10 days since Young gave Spotify the ultimatum, the platform decided to back Rogan, whom they paid $100 million for exclusive hosting rights to his show. As a result, many other artists followed in Young’s footsteps.

These artists include India.Arie, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Nils Lofgren and many more. Here we wanted to collect what these artists are saying about Spotify and Rogan, so that their words and thoughts can be seen in one place.

Neil Young

Young is demanding that Spotify make a choice between his music or Rogan’s popular podcast. Young claims Rogan is giving misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines that could cause serious harm and death.

Prior to Young’s request, hundreds of doctors called on Spotify to take action against Rogan. (Here’s a clip of him being fact-checked in real time but not admitting error.)

On his own website, Young wrote, “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines, potentially causing the death of those who believe the misinformation is being spread by them. Please act immediately today and let me know the timeline.

Young continued, “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all of my music removed from their platform. They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”

He added, “With approximately 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the largest podcast in the world and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company currently has no misinformation policy.

Later, in a new letter posted on his website shortly after the premiere, Neil Young said he was not for censorship, he was simply making a choice.

After issuing an ultimatum to streaming giant Spotify, Young put his money where his mouth is and followed through on his request. As such, Spotify will no longer stream Young’s music.

But in the new letter, which Young posted earlier this week, he wrote, “When I left SPOTIFY, I felt better.”

He wrote in full, “Digital music has been with us for about 40 years now. Digital, rather than reproducing copies of music as we did in the analog era, reconstructs it from 1s and 0s and reads the data you hear as music.

“This allows professionals like those who use SPOTIFY to reduce the quality of music content by up to 5%. It’s just math. It’s easy to do that with digital, allowing more songs and less music to be released faster. This is because 95% of it is missing. That’s what SPOTIFY the Tech company does. SPOTIFY then sells the downgraded music to you.

“When I started, everyone could hear all the music. 100%.

“AMAZON, APPLE MUSIC and Qobuz provide up to 100% of today’s music and it sounds much better than the crappy degraded and neutralized sound of SPOTIFY. If you support SPOTIFY, you are destroying an art form. Business on art. SPOTIFY plays artist music at 5% quality and charges you as if it’s the real thing.

AMAZON, APPLE MUSIC and Qobuz are now delivering the real thing. SPOTIFY has been ripping you off since day one. No goosebumps with SPOTIFY sound!

“Switch to one of the alternatives – businesses that support the arts. The real sound is available there. AMAZON, APPLE MUSIC and Qobuz You just have to leave Spotify and go to a new place that really cares about quality music.

“I met Danile Ek when he started SPOTIFY. I felt like he was really going to get into it. It was a very long time ago. I wonder what happened.

“When I left Spotify, I felt better.

I support freedom of expression. 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 support my music on a platform that disseminates harmful information. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with frontline healthcare workers who risk their lives every day to help others.

“As an unexpected bonus, I sound better everywhere else.

“Land of love is fine neil.”

Joni Mitchell

On Friday, January 28, Joni Mitchell announced that she would also be removing her music from Spotify, citing the streaming platform’s potential for misinformation.

In a letter on his website, Mitchell wrote, “I’m with Neil.”

“I have decided to delete all my music from Spotify,” she added. “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. »

Mitchell also added a link to the open letter that hundreds of science and medical professionals wrote to Spotify, citing popular podcaster Joe Rogan, whose show draws 10-11 million listeners each episode. See this entire letter HERE (with all 270 signatures).

Nils Lofgren

Lofgren, a guitarist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who has played with Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse and Springsteen’s E Street Band, wrote on Saturday (January 29) via the Neil Young Archives page:

“A few days ago my wife Amy and I got to know about Neil and Daryl [Hannah] alongside hundreds of healthcare professionals, scientists, doctors and nurses to call on Spotify to promote lies and misinformation that hurt and kill people. When these heroic women and men, who have spent their lives healing and saving ours, cry out for help, don’t turn your back on them for money and power. You listen to them and you stand by their side.

India.Arie

In a statement released Jan. 31, Arie, who currently has 1.3 million monthly listeners on the streaming service, said she supports Young’s stance against Rogan and her guests’ comments about the coronavirus on the Spotify Podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, but was also appalled by Rogan’s “race language”.

“I have decided to remove my music and my podcast from Spotify,” Arie said. “Neil Young has opened a door that I have to go through. I believe in freedom of expression. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his Covid interviews. For me, it is also his language around race.

Arie added: “What I’m talking about is respect – who gets it and who doesn’t. Paying musicians a fraction of a penny? And him 100 million dollars? This shows the type of business they are in and the business they keep. I am tired.”

The R&B entertainer has already filed formal requests to have his music removed from Spotify, according to a report.

Arie’s statement follows a series of tweets from the artist starting January 29, using the hashtag “#DeleteSpotify.” Prior to his decision to withdraw from Spotify, Arie expressed his anger towards the streaming platform and the music industry in a series of messages.

“The music industry is abusive” she wrote in a post, “Sexist. Racist. Agist. Amplified and uncontrolled. This is not an opinion. It is wisdom. This streaming model is just one area that needs to be torn down and rebuilt with respect for the artists at the forefront.

Graham Nash

“Having heard the Covid misinformation spread by Joe Rogan on Spotify,” Nash said in a statement on Instagram, “I wholeheartedly agree with and support my friend, Neil Young.”

“There is a difference between being open to different viewpoints on an issue and knowingly spreading false information that some 270 medical professionals have derided as not only false but dangerous. Similarly, there is a difference between disinformation, in which it is unaware that what is being said is false, and disinformation which is knowingly false and intended to mislead and influence public opinion. If so, in a way that could cost people their lives.

“It should also be recognized that many young musicians and many musicians of all ages rely on platforms like this to gain exposure to a wider audience and share their music with the world.

“Not everyone is in a position to take action like this, which is all the more reason why platforms like Spotify need to be more responsible and accountable for the content they are forced to moderate for. the good of the general public.”

David Croby

“We support Neil and agree with him that there is dangerous misinformation being spread on Spotify’s Joe Rogan Podcast. While we always welcome alternative viewpoints, knowingly spreading misinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences.

“Until concrete steps are taken to show that caring for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don’t want our music – or the music we’ve made together – to be on the same platform. David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash”

Failure

Rock band LA Failure said their reason for leaving Spotify is similar to that of Young and other artists, unlike Rogan and his guests. Additionally, the band also cited Spotify’s lack of payment to artists as another cause for their exit from the streaming platform.

“Chess wrestled with the issue of Spotify and whether to have our new music, which we control, on the platform,” the band wrote on social media. “Until now, our ambivalence about Spotify has been based on their draconian royalty calculation which essentially gives artists a microscopic fraction of the money their music generates on the platform. We’ve all seen stories about how little Spotify pays artists whose proceeds fuel their entire business model, and it’s been a scam for artists since the beginning, in line with the major model that preceded it.

Weezer’s Cuomo Rivers

Following several artists leaving Spotify following complaints about the popular streaming platform’s encouragement of COVID-19 misinformation, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has taken a new approach. The rocker has launched his own streaming service, Weezify.

The artist broke the news on social media, taking to Twitter to tell his 1.1 million followers, “Tired of Spotify? Come to Weezify.

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