Joni Mitchell joins Neil Young in ditching Spotify over COVID misinformation

Mitchell says she'll remove her catalog from the music and podcast streaming service. "Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives," she says.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
  • Ed was a member of the CNET crew that won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for general excellence online. He's also edited pieces that've nabbed prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and others.
Edward Moyer
2 min read
Joni Mitchell performing with B.B. King.

Joni Mitchell performing with blues legend B.B. King. Big Yellow Taxi, Help Me and A Case of You are three of her widely celebrated songs.

Roger Ressmeyer/Getty Images

Joni Mitchell has turned up the volume on demands for music and podcast streamer Spotify to address misinformation on its platform. Joining protests by a group of medical professionals and by rocker Neil Young, the iconic singer-songwriter says she plans to pull her work off Spotify over false claims about COVID-19 vaccines.

"I've decided to remove all my music from Spotify," Mitchell said Friday in a brief post 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."

Young sparked a #DeleteSpotify movement earlier this week when he yanked his catalog off the service and cited a letter by more than 250 doctors, nurses, scientists and educators who criticized Spotify and its most popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, for spreading vaccine misinformation.

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective against severe disease, hospitalization and death. 

In her post, Mitchell, the artist behind songs like Big Yellow TaxiHelp Me and A Case of You, included a link to that same letter. It calls out an episode of Rogan's podcast that featured virologist and vaccine skeptic Dr. Robert Malone, points to a critical post about Malone on fact-checking site PolitiFact, and urges Spotify to establish a policy on misinformation.

"By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions," the letter says, "Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals."

In addition to the vaccines, other public health measures like masking and social distancing have helped slow the spread COVID-19.   

In 2020, Spotify made its service the exclusive home of Rogan's podcast after signing a licensing deal that The Wall Street Journal reported was worth more than $100 million.

On Friday, Young posted a note on his site underlining his stance.

"I support free speech," Young's post says. "I have never been in favor of censorship. 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."

Spotify didn't respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Spotify faces backlash after Neil Young pulls music over Joe Rogan COVID misinformation