Joni Mitchell poses for photographers as she arrives for a gala evening in Washington in December 2021. Mitchell said Friday she would remove her music from Spotify in protest after recent controversy between Neil Young and the music streaming giant over podcaster Joe Rogan’s COVID-19 “misinformation.” File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Joni Mitchell said Friday she would remove her music from Spotify in protest after recent controversy between Neil Young and the music streaming giant over podcaster Joe Rogan's COVID-19 "misinformation."
Mitchell, whose music garners 3.7 million monthly listeners on the platform, released a message to her website Friday titled "I Stand With Neil Young!" She is the first major artist to follow Young in leaving Spotify.
"I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify," Mitchell wrote. "Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue."
Mitchell also linked to an open letter signed by hundreds of top medical professionals calling for Spotify "to take action against the mass-misinformation events which continue to occur on its platform."
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine," the letter reads. "He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are 'gene therapy,' promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (contrary to FDA warnings), and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories."
The singer-songwriter, who has earned nine Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to music, has sold millions of her 19 studio albums since her career began in 1968. She has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was ranked ninth on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.
Spotify announced Wednesday that it would remove the entire catalog of Young, who has been twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Young, 76, had issued an ultimatum demanding that Spotify either remove his music or the podcast hosted by Rogan while accusing the streaming service of spreading "false information about vaccines" by allowing Rogan's podcast to continue making controversial statements about the coronavirus.
The Joe Rogan Experience, which airs on Spotify after the streaming giant agreed to pay Rogan $100 million in 2020 for exclusive rights, is one of the most popular programs in the world and reaches more viewers than cable TV news programs.
Spotify has not yet addressed Mitchell's statement that she would be removing her music from the platform.