James Blunt is the latest musician to weigh in on Neil Young’s decision last week to pull his music from Spotify over its continued support of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast despite complaints that it is spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
In contrast to other performers, the “You’re Beautiful” singer joked on Twitter that he’ll release more music if the streaming service doesn’t take a stand against Joe Rogan.
“If Spotify doesn’t immediately remove Joe Rogan, I will release new music onto the platform,” the British singer quipped on Saturday, adding the hashtag #YouWereBeautiful.”
Though Blunt is known for his self-deprecating takes on his music — joking days ago about singing one song on his “Greatest Hit” tour — his tweet fired up folks on both sides of the issue. “You think censorship is funny?” read one response from a Rogan supporter, while others urged him to stand in solidarity with Young by pulling his own music from the platform, writing, “We need action, not jokes.”
“Thank you for saying something,” read another comment. “It’d be great if you added to the wave trying to tell Spotify (and, then, all the others) that anti-vax crap must stop. Seriously, as a Tom Waits fan, if you ditch Spotify, I will buy all of your albums. Really.”
Blunt’s joke comes as fellow Canadian music legend Joni Mitchell shared her own plans to follow Young’s lead.
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” Mitchell, who like Young is a polio survivor, shared in a statement posted to 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.”
Musician Nils Lofgren of Crazy Horse and E Street Band fame is also pulling his material, while author and social scientist Brené Brown announced over Twitter on Saturday that she is not releasing her podcasts on the streaming service “until further notice.”
While it’s unclear where Blunt, 47, actually stands on the debate, the singer’s friend and former British Army comrade Prince Harry has made his opinions known. According to a statement from the Archewell production company founded by the royal and wife Meghan Markle, whose 2018 wedding Blunt attended, the couple have been voicing concerns to Spotify since last April about “the all-too-real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform.”
The couple have a multiyear podcasting goal with Spotify, but “have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”