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Neil Young says he's returning to Spotify, 2 years after exit over Joe Rogan's podcast

Young pulled his music from Spotify in 2022, saying he wouldn't share the platform with Rogan, who faced criticism for spreading vaccine misinformation.
2019 Farm Aid
Neil Young in East Troy, Wisconsin, in 2019.Gary Miller / Getty Images file
/ Source: Variety

Neil Young is bringing his music back to Spotify because, he said, Apple and Amazon have “started serving the same disinformation” in podcasts that drove him to quit Spotify more than two years ago. And Young said he can’t boycott Apple Music and Amazon Music, because then his music would have “very little streaming outlet to music lovers at all.”

In January 2022, Young demanded that Spotify pull his tracks off its service in protest of the company’s failure to curb Covid misinformation in “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. He said Spotify “can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” Spotify removed Young’s songs on Jan. 26. “Spotify has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID,” Young wrote at the time.

Now the 78-year-old rock icon, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, is coming back to Spotify. But he said it’s because Apple and Amazon have also become fonts of disinformation.

“Spotify, the #1 streamer of low res music in the world — Spotify, where you get less quality than we made, will now be home of my music again,” Young announced Tuesday in a post on his website.

Young continued: “My decision comes as music services Apple and Amazon have started serving the same disinformation podcast features I had opposed at SPOTIFY. I cannot just leave Apple and Amazon, like I did Spotify, because my music would have very little streaming outlet to music lovers at all, so I have returned to Spotify, in sincere hopes that Spotify sound quality will improve and people will be able to hear and feel all the music as we made it. Qobuz and Tidal, where my music is presented, are all High res as well.”

Young didn’t elaborate on what podcast “disinformation” Apple and Amazon are allegedly carrying. But that may be a reference to Rogan’s multiyear deal renewal with Spotify inked last month, under which “The Joe Rogan Experience” will no longer be exclusively available on Spotify. The podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts and YouTube and will be coming to Amazon Music, according to Spotify.

“I hope all you millions of Spotify users enjoy my songs!” Young wrote in the post. “They will now all be there for you except for the full sound we created.”

He urged Spotify to introduce a high-quality audio tier, which the audio streamer has previously promised — but has yet to deliver. “Hopefully Spotify will turn to Hi Res as the answer and serve all the music to everyone,” Young wrote. “Spotify, you can do it! Really be #1 in all ways. You have the music and the listeners!!!! Start with a limited Hi res tier and build from there!”

Young, after he exited Spotify in 2022, had criticized the quality of its audio compression as delivering a “degraded and neutered sound… If you support Spotify, you are destroying an art form.”