Like many Canadians, I really like Neil Young.
The Canadian rocker, who is also a well-known environmental activist and the spouse of actress Darryl Hannah, tried to use the sparse amount of clout he has left to get Spotify to cancel their 100-million-dollar deal with Joe Rogan over Rogan’s controversial statements regarding COVID vaccines. Young promised to remove all of his music from the digital streaming giant if they did not fire the popular podcaster.
And I can’t tell if I am impressed with Young’s gusto, or disgusted by his attempt to use cancel culture to end someone else’s career. What I do know is that Young’s ultimatum will result in his music being removed from Spotify who, after a polite attempt to sway the aging rocker, will spend a grand total of 14 seconds before deciding to part ways. Yonge’s popularity is small potatoes compared to Rogan, and Spotify would probably have to pay the remainder of Rogan’s contract – tens of millions of dollars – if they did somehow decide to cancel his podcast.
- Neil Young was the wrong artist to attempt a leverage play against Spotify, and
- Cancel Culture is worse than Joe Rogan’s coverage of vaccines
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” he writes. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.” https://t.co/nPSB3xvqJA
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) January 25, 2022
I recently wrote that Rogan’s podcast had lost me, a long-time listener, and that I thought he was becoming far too beholden to the MAGA segment of his audience. I still believe that, but I never suggested he be canceled. I find the tactic of trying to bully any company into disowning someone controversial to be cheap. Rogan should have his show for as long as Spotify thinks it is profitable, or until such time he does or says something truly criminal. Being incorrect about vaccines is neither of those things.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) January 14, 2022
Besides, at this point it would just be a punitive measure to take Rogan out. It’s not like his show begins and ends on vaccine disinformation. Collectively, we need to get back to a place where the real meaning of freedom is to be free to choose to turn off a podcast rather than force companies to dump their main attraction as a social engineering exercise aimed at listeners.