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Neil Young Encourages Spotify Employees to Quit and Save Their Souls

"Get out before it eats up your soul"

neil young spotify battle joe rogan covid-19 disinformation polio child
Neil Young, photo by Ryan Peterman

    Neil Young’s war against Spotify rages on for a third week: In a new letter posted to his website, Young not only encouraged musicians to leave the platform, he also advised Spotify’s employees leave the company “before it eats up your soul.”

    Young’s latest swipe at Spotify came at the end of a longer letter about misinformation and corporate greed. He noted that just 5% of America’s financial assets are in the hands of millennials (as compared to 70% held by baby boomers). He also argued for a boycott of banks like Chase, Citi, and Bank of America, which contribute financially to “the mass fossil fuel destruction of Earth.”

    Regarding Spotify, Young advised his fellow creators to “find a better place… to be the home of your art.” So far, artists including Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, Nils Lofgren, India.Arie, and Failure have followed Young’s lead.

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    But Young saved his most damning words for Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. While he initially boycotted Spotify to protest the spread of COVID misinformation on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Young now believes Ek, and not Rogen, is “your big problem.” He then advised Spotify employees “to get out before it eats up your soul.”

    “Ek pulls the strings,” Young said. “The only goals stated by Ek are about numbers – not art, not creativity.” He also chided Ek for failing to mention medical professionals in his initial statement defending Rogan.

    “Join me as I move my money away from the damage causers or you will unintentionally be one of them,” Young wrote in his letter. “You have the power to change the world. We can do it together. Your grandchildren will thank you in history.”

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    For his part, Ek is still standing behind Rogan — even as the controversies surrounding the podcast host continue to mount. Over the weekend, Spotify quietly removed 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience after a video went viral highlighting 24 instances in which Rogan used the N-word. Ek called Rogan’s language “incredibly hurtful,” but said he does “not believe that silencing Joe is the answer. We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”

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