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  • Niall Smith

Joni Mitchell and India.Arie Join the “Spotify Wars” in Support of Neil Young

The saga continues...

Canadian singer, songwriter and mythicised folk legend Joni Mitchell and R&B singer India.Arie has joined Neil Young in solidarity against Spotify and their The Joe Rogan Experience podcast support.

Last week, we reported on Young’s music being taken off of streaming platforms after he called out Spotify for doubling down on their support of the Joe Rogan podcast. Young voiced his disapproval of Spotify after Rogan spread COVID-19 misinformation.

I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young said in his open letter on January 24th.

Since the initial story broke, various artists have also weighed in on the situation—notably Joni Mitchell and India.Arie.

Mitchell was first to respond to the debacle via her website saying: “I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify," Mitchell said in a statement published on her website. "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.”

As the Joe Rogan Experience currently stands as Spotify’s #1 podcast with well over $100 million dollars worth of backing, many claimed Spotify’s actions were money-hungry and morally ambiguous.

On Monday, Rogan responded to the backlash via Instagram saying: "I do not know if they're right," Rogan said. "I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist. I'm just a person who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them. Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong. But I try to correct them. ... I'm interested in telling the truth. I'm interested in finding out what the truth is."

Following in Mitchell’s footsteps, India.Arie and Graham Nash have also decided to pull their work from Spotify, with Arie saying: “I have decided to pull my music and podcast from Spotify,” she shared to her Instagram. “Neil Young opened a door that I must walk through. I believe in freedom of speech. However, I find Joe Rogan problematic for reasons other than his COVID interviews.”

Arie also lamented Spotify’s inadequate compensation and pay as a motivating factor to leave Spotify, adding: “What I am talking about is respect who gets it and who doesn’t,” she said. “Paying musicians, a fraction of a penny? And him $100M? This shows the type of company they are and the company that they keep. I’m tired.”

With a large pay disparity and toxic environments supported by mass co-operations like Spotify—it’s clear something needs to be done for artists on a large or emerging scale. That’s where our charter of good practice comes into play over here at Cactus City.

We aim to cultivate a safe space in the music industry for women, gender minorities and all artists. Check out our Charter here.


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