Neil Young announces return to Spotify after Joe Rogan boycott

Technology

Neil Young attends a press conference for Farm Aid 34 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on September 21, 2019 in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Gary Miller | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Neil Young on Wednesday said his music will return to Spotify, just over two years after he and other artists removed their catalogues from the music streaming platform amid a vaccine disinformation dispute.

Spotify has not confirmed the news. CNBC has contacted the company for comment.

The row that led to his departure centered on Spotify’s multimillion-dollar deal with Joe Rogan, whose eponymous podcast was accused by Young of spreading “fake information” about the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines. A group of 270 U.S. doctors and scientist also called on Spotify to “take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform.”

In a statement released Tuesday, Young said that his decision to return was in light of Apple and Amazon “serving the same disinformation podcast features” he opposed at Spotify.

Spotify announced a multi-year deal with Rogan last month that removed its exclusivity, meaning “The Joe Rogan Experience” will return to platforms, including Apple Podcasts, YouTube and Amazon Music.

“I cannot just leave Apple and Amazon, like I did Spotify, because my music would have very little streaming outlet to music lovers at all,” Young said on his website.

The singer, whose hits include “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man” and “Harvest Moon,” made multiple digs at Spotify in his statement, calling it the “#1 streamer of low res music in the world … where you get less quality than we made.” He also urged the platform to introduce a high-resolution tier.

Young previously said Spotify accounted for 60% of his global streaming revenue, prior to his departure.

Last month, Young and band Crazy Horse announced a new album, “Fu##in’ Up,” and a North American tour.

Other artists who pulled their work from the platform in January 2022 included Joni Mitchell, India Arie and the group Crosby, Stills and Nash.

The move placed Spotify in a position to choose between numerous legendary musical figures and the controversial but hugely popular Joe Rogan podcast, which was its most streamed show in 2023. At the time, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that he did not believe in “silencing” Rogan.

Rogan issued an apology amid the furore, pledging to showcase a balance of views on his platform.

CNBC has contacted Apple and Amazon for comment.

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