Following demands from Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to remove their music from Spotify, the streaming platform’s No. 1 competitor, Apple Music, is promoting the availability of the two artists’ catalogs on its own platform — with a nod ‘eye.
On Thursday (January 27), Apple Music first highlighted Young’s catalog under the editorial header “We Love Neil,” prominently displayed to users searching for music on its platform.
On Saturday, a “We Love Joni Too” header highlighting selections from Mitchell’s catalog was added directly below the Young header.
The two sentences appear to respond to demands from artists for Spotify to purge their catalogs from its platform, due to misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine spread by the popular Spotify. Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.
“Neil Young’s House,” Apple Music had also tweeted on January 27, in a social campaign reminding listeners that Young’s catalog remains fully available on their streaming service, while the #CancelSpotify hashtag and “Apple Music” were both trending topics on Twitter.
Spotify pulled Young’s catalog from the platform on January 26, in response to the singer-songwriter’s request to remove his music. In support of Young’s position, Mitchell made the same request on January 28, writing on his website, “I have decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people spread lies that cost people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue. As of press time Jan. 29, his music remains available on Spotify.
Young had first written an open letter on January 24 (which has since been deleted) on his Neil Young Archives website which stated, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both. I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all of my music removed from their platform.
“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 keep me posted on the timeline,” he wrote, addressing his letter to his manager and the Co-Chairman and COO of Warner Records. “With approximately 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the largest podcast in the world and has enormous influence,” Young continued. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company currently has no misinformation policy.”
In a statement provided to Billboard on January 26, a Spotify spokesperson said, “We want all the music and audio content in the world to be available to Spotify users. With this comes a great responsibility to balance both the safety of listeners and the freedom of creators. We have detailed content policies in place and have removed over 20,000 COVID-19 related podcast episodes since the pandemic began. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to see him again soon.