As more musicians quit Spotify, the issue surrounding Joe Rogan grows


Neil Young, at the age of 76, may have sparked a revolution. The iconic Canadian-American musician made news last week when he issued an ultimatum to Spotify: “They can have Neil Young or Joe Rogan.” “Neither.” Spotify prioritizing its star podcast could spiral out of control for the company

Unsurprisingly, Spotify chose Rogan — a podcaster they spent a reputed $100 million for only two years ago — but if the streaming behemoth thought it would end the dispute, it was gravely incorrect. Since Young’s departure, two other high-profile departures have occurred: Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren. Also How to prevent lower back pain with 7 best exercises

The latter may be particularly concerning for Spotify, given his push for others to follow suit. “We invite all musicians, artists, and music fans across the world to stand with us and break connections with Spotify,” Lofgren stated yesterday.


“Every day, music is our planet’s precious weapon, connecting and healing billions of souls.” Take up your sword and begin swinging. Neil has always done so. Stand with him, with us (Joni Mitchell! ), and with others. It’s a tremendous action that you can all perform right now to celebrate truth, humanity, and the soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to rescue ours.”

Even those who aren’t actively leaving are raising awareness, even if only in a tongue-in-cheek way:

Meanwhile, claimed leaked internal correspondence obtained by The Verge have cast an unflattering light on Spotify’s anti-vax material policy.

Many individuals screen-cap their cancellation form with the phrase “Joe Rogan” in the “Let us know more about why you are cancelling” box and presumably followed directions for how to transfer Spotify playlists to Apple Music or another provider.

It may be a drop in the ocean of Spotify’s projected 172 million paying customers, but it’s difficult to tell how big that drop is – or, more concerning for Spotify, how huge it may become. Indeed, Apple has seized the opportunity, tweeting that Apple Music is “the home of Neil Young” and emphasising Young’s playlists.


Will it snowball? 

There’s a genuine danger that this may spiral out of control for Spotify, making its $100 million investment in the Joe Rogan Experience appear insignificant.

However, there is a chance that the streaming platform will persevere. It’s no surprise that the musicians who have felt comfortable taking a statement come from a generation that built their fortunes before streaming. Without a doubt, the Spotify revenue is a good earner for the musicians in issue, but they’re well-known enough that they don’t need the extra publicity and have already made a lot of money from the music business in the pre-internet era.


Younger musicians, who, on average, are more likely to appeal to the ordinary Spotify user, do not have the same privilege. Removing yourself off Spotify might be the end of their career. Even if the amount received directly through the platform is pitiful, streaming services indirectly stimulate sales of live performance tickets and merchandise.

But it doesn’t mean things can’t get out of hand rapidly. The artists that have left thus far are renowned performers who are frequently revered by younger musicians, and if more go as is rumoured, the topic may flip from “why on Earth would you quit Spotify?” to “how can you possibly stay on Spotify?”

If that day comes — a huge if, but not impossible — Spotify may have to face the sunk cost fallacy and decide whether it needs to take a firmer stance with its celebrity podcaster. If the question becomes “podcasts or music,” Spotify wins only if the response is “music” or “both.”


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