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Why Are Musicians Leaving Spotify?

Music streaming dominates the music industry around the world today. The Swedish music streaming service Spotify is the leader in this market. It has a 400 million user group in almost 200 countries and over 160 million premium subscribers.

But lately, Spotify, which was considered a very good place to earn money among artists, began to lose its performers. Despite the relatively low royalties that the streaming service pays to artists, it has a very large number of subscribers and a wide geography, which largely compensates for low rates.

Blame it on The Joe Rogan Experience, which has long been at the top of the list of the most popular podcasts on the platform, but has become a magnet for criticism and controversy due to its openly impartial stance and accusations of misrepresenting information about Covid-19.

Boomerang cost the Swedish streaming giant about $2.1 billion in stock cuts between January 26 and 28 this year, in the hottest days since the controversy sparked by songwriter and guitarist Neil Young. Several writers have decided to turn their backs on Spotify. Some moved on to Apple Music, which gladly wanted to step on its historical rival, gloating over implicit messages and links.

The author wrote an open letter, published on his website and later deleted, in which he stated that “Spotify is spreading misinformation about vaccines. It has become a very malicious force due to public misinformation and lies about Covid. Lies are sold for money. In a letter sent to his agent Frank Gironda and his record label, Young requested that all of his recordings be removed from the streaming platform.

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Spotify’s response was not long in coming. The very next day, the Swedish streaming giant decided to accept Young’s request by removing all of the singer’s recordings from the platform. A decision that makes absolutely no sense to the 76-year-old musician’s finances, given that the platform represents 60% of his streaming income, as the author himself admitted in a post published on his official website, thanking his label for supporting him in the decision. “It was worth it because of our honesty and our beliefs.”

Neil Young’s actions have caused a domino effect, dragging authors and prominent figures into the controversy. Several well-known artists have decided to join the 76-year-old musician by removing their music portfolio from Spotify. So did singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, who joined Young in allegations against the Swedish platform.

In 2020, Spotify made The Joe Rogan Experience podcast exclusive to the platform after signing a $100 million deal. The podcast was ranked as the most popular podcast, with an average audience of 11 million users and 200 million downloads per month. Joe Rogan, a 55-year-old television host and comedian, is skeptical about the dangers of Covid-19, disapproves of vaccinations for young adults and children, and advocates the use of invermectin (an antiparasitic drug) to treat the disease.

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