Elon Musk has an opinion on Joe Rogan, Spotify, and Neil Young.
Replying to a tweet congratulating Spotify on its decision to back Rogan’s embattled podcast, Musk posted a meme seemingly backing Rogan’s right to free speech and criticizing Young for attempting to censor him.
The meme shows an unsmiling picture of Young, accompanied by the words, “If you won’t censor the guy I don’t like, I won’t let you listen to ‘Keep on rocking in the free world,’” a reference to one of Young’s most famous tracks. Musk appeared to equate Young’s issue with the spread of misinformation about vaccines with personal dislike toward Rogan.
Musk, who is famously fascinated with robots and automation, had posted the tweet in response to Lex Fridman, host of an automation-focused podcast. Fridman had written, “Props to Spotify for backing Joe Rogan. Freedom wins. Podcasting is pirate radio.”
The rock legend recently demanded Spotify cancel Joe Rogan’s highly popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, after guests made controversial statements on the show regarding COVID-19 misinformation. In a letter posted on his website, Young wrote: “Spotify has become the home of life-threatening COVID misinformation. Lies being sold for money.”
After Young threatened to remove his entire catalog of music from the streaming platform, Spotify eventually decided to side with Rogan and his show, and Young’s music was removed from Spotify last week.
Some other classic rockers, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren, have taken Young’s side and asked for their catalogs to be taken off Spotify.
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” Mitchell wrote on her website on Friday. “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.”
In a nearly 10-minute Instagram video posted on Sunday, Rogan admitted that he could do more to stop misinformation on his show, which has a reported 11 million listeners. The podcast host announced he would ensure that more “mainstream experts” will be invited onto the show and more research will be conducted on certain topics. Rogan did indicate that he will continue having “interesting conversations with people that have differing opinions.”
While critics such as Musk called out Young for seemingly attempting to censor Rogan, the musician has said his feud was mainly with Spotify, not the podcaster.
“I support free speech,” Young wrote in a letter on his website. “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.”
In another part of the letter, Young criticized the platform for hurting the quality of sound files compared with that of other music streaming providers, and criticized Spotify’s business practices.
On Sunday, Spotify announced that it would explore adding content advisories to material that mentions COVID-19, as well as directing users to public health websites.
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