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Joni Mitchell says she's pulling music from Spotify, joining Neil Young in solidarity

"I stand with Neil Young," Mitchell wrote Friday after Young removed his music over vaccine misinformation on "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast.
The 2020 NAMM Show – 35th Annual NAMM TEC Awards
Joni Mitchell attends the 35th Annual NAMM TEC Awards, in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2020.Jesse Grant / Getty Images for NAMM file

Master singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell said Friday that she is removing her music from Spotify, acting in unity with Neil Young who did the same in a protest over vaccine misinformation.

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

Mitchell shared a letter from medical professionals and scientists criticizing “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast hosted on Spotify for what they said was a history of misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines.

Young earlier this week asked his management team and record label to remove his music from Spotify, saying the service "is spreading fake information about vaccines" and mentioning Rogan.

"They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young said in an open letter posted on his website Monday but which was later removed, according to Rolling Stone magazine. NBC News has not seen the original post, and it is unclear why it was removed from Young’s website.

Spotify on Wednesday said it agreed to remove Young’s music.

Rogan has been criticized for misinformation about vaccines, including from guests on his program. In April 2021 he appeared to discourage young people from getting vaccinated.

The open letter shared by Mitchell on Friday takes particular exception to a recent Rogan podcast with Dr. Robert Malone. Malone, a virologist, said Americans had been “hypnotized” into wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

Rogan has said that he isn’t “an anti-vax person” and that he should not be the source of medical advice.

Rogan signed a deal with Spotify in 2020 to bring his podcast exclusively to the streaming service in an agreement that would earn him more than $100 million, depending on performance.

"The Joe Rogan Experience" was the No. 1 podcast on Spotify globally in 2021, the streaming platform said in December.

In a written statement Wednesday, a Spotify spokesperson said the streaming service wants all music and audio content to be available to its users. “With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators," the statement said.

The spokesperson added that Spotify has content policies in place and has removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid-19.

In a new letter to fans posted Friday, Young wrote that “When I left Spotify, I felt better.”

He accused the streaming service of poor quality of the sound, but he also said he was not trying to censor anyone.

“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,” Young wrote. “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.”