Joni Mitchell at a press conference

Joe Rogan Fans Own Themselves, Asking “Who?” About Music Legends Like Joni Mitchell as More Artists Ditch Spotify

Spotify is continuing to weather a storm as more artists plan to pull their music from the streaming platform due to medical misinformation being shared on podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience. So far, artists like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and now guitarist for the E Street Band Nils Lofgren have spoken out against the platform and begun taking their music off the app.

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Yes, Young, Mitchell, and Lofgren all took their music away because Spotify, an app that became popular because of music, would apparently rather keep a podcast by Joe Rogan on it. It doesn’t make any sort of sense, and it will break your brain trying to figure it out.

Personally, I’m absolutely devastated that I have to now resort to listening to Blue by Joni Mitchell on a CD/vinyl like Love Actually because Spotify chose the host of Fear Factor over Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musicians.

The “Who?” Responses

What doesn’t make sense to me is the reaction of Joe Rogan fans. There are two sides to this argument: One claiming that Spotify can’t remove Rogan’s podcast because of free speech, which is not how private platforms like Spotify work, and Spotify has taken action against COVID-19 misinformation from others, which makes the fact that Joe Rogan has gone unchecked on the platform for this long shocking and upsetting.

But his “fans” have taken to the ever-creative response of “who?” whenever a new artist takes a stand against the platform, childishly acting like huge figures in music are irrelevant and convincing no one but themselves. But then again, maybe fans of The Joe Rogan Experience are just telling on themselves that they really don’t know who Rock and Roll icons like Young, Mitchell, or Lofgren are because those fans lack taste. They listen to Joe Rogan after all.

Spotify and Free Speech

The arguments going around against this boil down to the freedom of speech. To many, Rogan has the right to free speech which means he can say what he wants. That’s true, but it is also a choice of Spotify to keep profiting off medical misinformation. Rogan can say what he pleases, but Spotify’s “freedom of association” is also protected by the very same Constitutional Amendment as the freedom of speech. A private company can chose what they make money off of and who is associated with their brand, and Spotify is making it clear where they stand in this battle.

Many are criticizing those taking their music from the platform, which feels like a weird exception to their arguments about the freedom of speech—unsurprising considering they didn’t understand their own argument in the first place. Neil Young fought back, sharing his views on the situation.

“I support free speech,” Young wrote in a letter posted on the Neil Young Archives site. “I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”

(featured image: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.