This Southern Man Doesn’t Need You Anymore


Written by Abigail Worker, A & E writer

On January 24th, Neil Young requested that his music be taken off of Spotify due to his dissatisfaction to what he says is disinformation and bad science on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Joe Rogan’s Experience. Since the pop stars’ announcement, many other artists have removed their service from Spotify such as India.Arie, Failure, David Crosby & Stephen Stills, etc. Many influencers are now apologizing for ever supporting Rogan in the past, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, stating he never knew of Rogan using any racial slurs. 


The whole debacle started when Joe Rogan, known for being a comedian and popular podcast artist, made multiple comments portraying his thoughts on COVID-19. He and many other influencers question the value of masks, vaccines, and pandemic restrictions such as lockdowns. In late December there was a small group (270) of medical professionals, scientists, and professors that posted an open letter to Spotify in response to their podcast, Joe Rogan’s Experience. The letter stated that they have been promoting an unjustified picture, and theories about COVID. The association called for Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform” to restrict potential conflict about the pandemic.


The Joe Rogan fury increased largely when in early February, a video montage was released of Rogan saying the N-word on former podcast episodes and went viral soon after. In reaction, Spotify removed one-hundred-and thirteen episodes off of Rogan’s podcast. Rogan then apologized for making racial slurs, calling them “regretful and shameful.” With the removal of episodes from the podcast, many of Rogan’s fans argue that the comedian-host is being censored.


Rogan has now received an offer from a company called Rumble to leave Spotify for a four year 100 million contract to have his podcast at their company instead. If Rogan decides to leave Spotify and join Rumble, he will be allowed to produce his show how he wants without being censored. Rogan has yet to respond to this generous offer on social media yet, but does show that the comedian-host has alternatives.


Since Young has decided to remove his music from Spotify, he has stated in a follow up letter that he is losing over 60 percent of his streaming revenue globally, which amounted to “a huge loss for [his] record company to absorb,” but still continued in the process of removing his music due to that he “could not continue to support Spotify’s life threatening misinformation to the music-loving public.” Since Young’s announcement, Spotify’s employees have spoken about their concerns about its relationship with Rogan. Many musicians frustrated with the revenue made from the streaming service are hoping the backlash will force bigger changes in the future.


Young gave Spotify an ultimatum of him or Rogan, and they decided to follow through with Rogan due to the fact that he does have a very popular show with a large audience. Spotify has already stated when Young decides to return they will welcome him with open arms again, so only time will tell.