NEW YORK — Another musician is joining a protest against Spotify over COVID-19 misinformation on the streaming platform.
Nils Lofgren, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band guitarist, said he is joining Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in pulling "27 years" of his music from Spotify. He said he is contacting the labels that own his earlier music to ask them to do the same.
In a statement posted to Young's website, Lofgren called on other musicians and listeners to "cut ties" with the platform. He said he was standing with "hundreds of health care professionals, scientists, doctors and nurses in calling out Spotify for promoting lies and misinformation that are hurting and killing people.”
Longtime rocker Neil Young ignited a protest against Spotify earlier in the week, saying he didn't want his music on the platform due to COVID-19 misinformation. Spotify reportedly began removing Young's music Wednesday. By the weekend, most of Young's music except for various live recordings had disappeared from the streaming platform.
Following Young's action, Spotify said it had policies in place to remove misleading content from its platform and has removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
But the service has said nothing about comedian Joe Rogan, whose Spotify-exclusive podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” is the centerpiece of the controversy. Last month Rogan interviewed on his podcast Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist who has been banned from Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation.
Rogan is one of the streaming service's biggest stars, with a contract that could earn him more than $100 million.
On Friday, Joni Mitchell became the first prominent artist to join Young. While Mitchell, 78, is not a current hitmaker, the Canadian native's Spotify page said she had 3.7 million monthly listeners to her music. Her songs “Big Yellow Taxi” and “A Case of You” have both been streamed more than 100 million times on the service. While much of her music remained on Spotify as of Sunday afternoon, Rolling Stone reports than some songs had disappeared.
“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell said Friday in a message posted on her website. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”
In an open letter after Young's music disappeared from Spotify, the rocker said he "felt better."
“I support free speech,” he wrote. “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. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”
The artists' songs remain on competing streaming platforms including Apple Music, which in a Thursday social media post declared itself "the home of Neil Young."
Later in the weekend, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek laid out more transparent platform rules given the backlash stirred by Young.