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Neil Young Could’ve Asked Joe Rogan For Equal Time

There is a better approach to misinformation than removing one’s own content from a streaming service.

5 min readJan 29, 2022


Over the last few days, there has been a bit of a feud between Neil Young and Spotify. The feud was started by Young and, somewhat predictably, ended poorly for him. The feud is over content created by Joe Rogan, comedian and exclusive podcasting star of Spotify. The concern is that Rogan has invited guests who make controversial statements about the virus that causes COVID. Neil Young disagreed with the information presented on The Joe Rogan Experience and issued an ultimatum: Get rid of Joe Rogan or lose me.

Spotify removed Neil Young’s music from their libraries.

In nearly every respect, it’s hard to see how Neil Young could have benefitted from a feud that was entirely avoidable. Spotify has an exclusive $100 million contract with Joe Rogan for his podcasts. Spotify can charge $1 million or more for an ad on Rogan’s podcast. Neil Young isn’t even remotely as popular as Joe Rogan. Young is almost certainly aware of the metrics here.

As a result of all this agitation, Spotify’s customer service lines have been jammed with people who want to cancel and Joe Rogan is having a blast now that Spotify sided with Joe Rogan instead of Neil Young. We kind of knew this was going to happen, and I was disappointed that Young would even bother with this approach.

This is the problem with ultimatums. If you make an ultimatum, you had better be ready to do that which you do not want to do. Or else.

The Verge has an interesting take on it, too. They note that Spotify might have responded differently if it were BTS, Taylor Swift, or Drake threatening to remove their content. But none of those artists issued any ultimatums. They might have complained, but for the moment, an ad on The Joe Rogan Experience can command $1 million.

I don’t listen to him, I‘m not a fan, and I really don’t care what he does. I liked what I had with Spotify as I’ve compared all the major services. Spotify has a very well-designed music streaming service with some great features. But I just couldn’t get over his guest choices.