Social media users ask ‘Who is Neil Young’ after singer asks for his music to be removed from Spotify
That probably wasn’t the response Canadian singer Neil Young expected after posting a since-deleted letter to his management team and record company on Monday demanding that they remove his songs from the service. Spotify music streaming.
“Who Is Neil Young” was trending on social media on Wednesday morning, with many users mockingly wondering who he was, while others expressed fake shock that he was still alive (and possibly… being in the process of switching into the free world).
Young, who has long spoken about the commercialization of music, had called for the removal of his songs from Spotify, as the service currently hosts the hugely popular The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, where host/comedian Joe Rogan publicly questioned vaccine information.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading misinformation about vaccines — potentially causing the death of those who believe the misinformation is being spread by them,” Young said in the letter. “Please act immediately today and let me know the timeline.
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all of my music removed from their platform,” the singer continued. “They may have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.
“With approximately 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the largest podcast in the world and has considerable influence,” the letter also states. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, although the company currently has no misinformation policy.”
This isn’t the first time Young has had his music ripped from Spotify, Rolling Stone reported. The singer had previously sought to remove his catalog of songs as he felt the sound quality was not adequate, but he finally accepted that streaming is how the masses listen now.
“That’s where people get music”, Young had told Rolling Stone in 2019. “I want people to hear my music no matter what they have to do to get it. I’m just trying to get them to hear a lot more and enjoy it a lot more, but sell it for the same price because music is music.”
Young previously helped develop Pono, a portable digital media player and music download service for high-resolution audio, but it failed to attract an audience and was discontinued in 2014.
Social Media Reaction: Neil Who?
Young may have been expecting the masses to rally around him this week, but that’s certainly not the response he received on Twitter.
“NEIL YOUNG: I want all my music removed from Spotify until they see Joe Rogan. Spotify: OK. The World: Neil Who? Oh him. Is he still alive?” wrote Canadian radio host Mark Towhey (@towhey).
TV presenter Emma Kenny (@emmakennytv) was even more blunt, writing, “How do you fall in love with Neil Young…..who clearly suffers from delusions of grandeur! @joerogan @Spotify isn’t going anywhere.”
“Neil Young, who has 6,057,481 monthly listeners, thinks he has the clout to take down Joe Rogan, who has 200 million monthly listeners,” Harrison Krank (@HarrisonKrank) reflected.
Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Sourza (@DineshDSouza) tweeted: “Heard a 76 year old singer who had his heyday in the last century is threatening to remove his music from Spotify unless he gives up #JoeRogan. Is that true? some kind of joke?”
There were still many on social media who shared their support for Young this week.
Salon’s Matthew Rozsa (@MatthewRozsa) posted, “I’m amazed at the lack of self-awareness Joe Rogan fans insult Neil Young. Young is one of the greatest living musicians. Rogan is a run-down comedian who hasn’t only made a career out of appealing to other biased, delusional right-handers desperate to believe they are free thinkers.”
“Neil Young. One of my all-time favorite artists truly stands up for what’s right,” wrote author Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph).
At least a few users on social media also noted that Young’s letter had since been deleted and attempted to explain why that might have been the case.
In a somewhat hostile tweet, conservative commentator Michael Cervnovich (@Cernovich) wrote, “Neil Young deleted the letter. Turns out he sold most of the rights to his music. He had no right to demand that Spotify delete “his” music. . He may be a victim of elder abuse. A curator must be appointed. Who really wrote this letter? »
Although the mockery might have been a bit extreme, Cernovich was right. It was a little over a year ago Young has sold 50% of his publishing rights to its entire catalog of songs to Hipganosis Songs Fund, a UK-based investment fund, in a deal worth $150 million. This gave Hipganosis the worldwide copyright and revenue rights to the 1,180 songs composed by Young.
The investment fund has invested in song rights for artists including Mark Ronson, Chic, Barry Manilow and Blondie. Although the Hipganosis Song Fund has said it won’t license Young’s songs for commercial use, it looks like the band could have a say in whether those songs are available through Spotify.
Hipganosis did not respond if that would honor Young’s calls to have his music removed from the service.