Neil Young urges Spotify employees to quit, takes aim at 'problem' CEO in wake of Joe Rogan controversy

Neil Young has urged Spotify workers to save their souls and quit their jobs as the controversy over the platform's exclusive podcast The Joe Rogan Experience rages on. 

Young, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, India Arie and more musicians and podcasters have pulled their content from the streaming service, citing Rogan's repeated airing of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation, as well as his frequent use of the N-word and other problematic language around race. 

The 'Harvest Moon' hitmaker implored other artists to follow suit, writing in a post shared to his website: "To the musicians and creators in the world, I say this: You must be able to find a better place than SPOTIFY to be the home of your art." 

The rock legend also made his feelings clear about Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, telling Spotify staff: "I say Daniel Ek is your big problem - not Joe Rogan."

"Ek pulls the strings. Get out of that place before it eats up your soul. The only goals stated by Ek are about numbers - not art, not creativity," he continued. 

Spotify's response to the growing concern about Rogan's podcast has been somewhat erratic. The platform initially agreed to update their rules and add a content advisory to episodes that discussed COVID-19, and later went on to remove over 100 episodes after India Arie shared a compilation of Rogan using the N-word more than 20 times. 

Ek has made it clear he does not intend to silence Rogan, with whom Spotify cut a deal for exclusive rights reportedly worth more than US$100 million in 2020. 

Rogan himself has apologised, first pledging to "balance out controversial viewpoints" with regard to the COVID-19 controversy, and later saying sorry for his "regretful and shameful" use of the N-word. But for artists like Young, the damage is clearly done. 

"Notice that Ek never mentions the medical professionals who started this conversation," Young said, referring to an open letter signed by nearly 300 doctors and scientists that demanded Spotify mitigate the "mass-misinformation events" taking place on The Joe Rogan Experience.

"Look one last time at the statements Ek has made. Then be free and take the good path," Young advised Spotify employees. 

Elsewhere in his latest post, Young asked everyone to "ditch the misinformers". 

"Find a good clean place to support with your monthly checks. You have the real power. Use it." 

Young also asked the "baby boomers" to help divert funds away from the companies "contributing to the mass fossil fuel destruction of Earth" by boycotting a number of US banks. 

"Join me as I move my money away from the damage causers or you will unintentionally be one of them," he said. 

"You have the power to change the world. We can do it together. Your grandchildren will thank you in history."