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B.C. musician Stephen Fearing joins Neil Young in pulling music from Spotify

Musicians protesting spread of COVID misinformation by Joe Rogan
Victoria resident Stephen Fearing is one of the latest recording artists to pull their music from Spotify in protest of COVID misinformation on the streaming platform. (Photo courtesy of Mary Maryanovich)

A Juno-winning Victoria musician is one of the latest artists to pull their music from Spotify after the streaming platform refused to address COVID-19 misinformation in Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Stephen Fearing, the co-founder of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and a Victoria resident since 2015, took to Twitter Jan. 31 to express his dismay with Spotify.

“What a relief! After years of holding my nose from the stench of @spotify I’m taking down the music that I own. We must all pick our battles and I’m a very small player, but it feels good to take a stand alongside those I admire,” he wrote.

Neil Young kicked off the protests of Spotify at the end of January when he gave the tech giant an ultimatum – it could have him or Joe Rogan, but not both. Young said he doesn’t want his music on a platform that supports a podcast spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

Young was quickly followed by Nils Lofgren, the Bruce Springsteen guitarist and a member of Crazy Horse, and Joni Mitchell, a Canadian singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

“We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere to stand with us and cut ties with Spotify,” Lofgren wrote in a statement.

Graham Nash and India Arie have also announced plans to remove their music.

READ ALSO: Misinformation online plays role in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: Tam

Earlier in January, hundreds of scientists, professors and public health experts asked Spotify to remove a Dec. 31 episode from “The Joe Rogan Experience” in which he featured Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious-disease specialist who has been banned from Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

In response to the criticism, Spotify said it will add advisories to podcasts discussing COVID-19, linking to a fact-based hub.

“It is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them,” Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek said in a statement Jan. 30.

READ ALSO: Spotify to add advisories to podcasts discussing COVID-19 amid Joe Rogan controversy

-with files from The Associated Press

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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