Spotify loses more than $2billion in market value following Joe Rogan controversy

Neil Young removed his music from the streaming platform earlier this week

Spotify has lost more than $2billion in market value after Neil Young removed his music from the streaming giant to protest vaccine misinformation being shared on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Young announced he’d be pulling his music off the streaming service earlier this week. He said Spotify was “spreading false information” about COVID-19 vaccines by supporting anti-vax podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience. 

“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” wrote Young, adding, “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

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As reported by Variety, Spotify shares dropped 6 per cent from January 26 to 28 after Young pulled his music from the platform. The streaming service had already seen its stock prices drop since the start of 2022, reporting a 25 per cent decrease in share value as of January 25.

A broader market upturn on Friday saw Spotify’s stocks recover slightly at $172.98 per share, but that was before Joni Mitchell announced she’d also be removing her music from the platform.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” she wrote. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Others in the music industry have also weighed in on the debate, with Catherine Mayer – the widow of Gang Of Four‘s Andy Gill – criticising Spotify for platforming anti-vax sentiments. Rival streaming services TIDAL and Apple Music also expressed support for Young, and took the opportunity to promote his music on their platforms.

However, some backed Spotify for hosting Rogan’s show, including Disturbed‘s frontman Dave Draiman, who applauded it for “not capitulating to the mob”.

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It’s not the first time Spotify has been criticised for Rogan’s content. Earlier this month, 270 scientists wrote a letter to the platform over the podcast host’s “dangerous” COVID-19 misinformation. They cited a December episode of the show in which Rogan interviewed medical doctor Robert Malone, who claimed Americans had been “hypnotised” into wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” they wrote.

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