Meghan and Harry POLL: Should Sussexes pull plug on £18m Spotify deal after angry boycott?

Meghan and Harry's Spotify podcast falls short

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Neil Young is being joined by a growing number of artists in his protest against Spotify. The singer-songwriter was the first to demand his music be taken off the platform because it allegedly allowed US commentator Joe Rogan to spread anti-vax messaging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are due to release new episodes of their show on the streaming service, have so far not shared their views on the subject.

The Joe Rogan Experience is Spotify’s most listened-to podcast.

On it, according to Mr Young, Mr Rogan pushed “life-threatening Covid misinformation” to listeners.

He wrote a letter — signed by 270 US doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals and professors — calling for Spotify to stop spreading “numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines”.

Accusing Mr Rogan’s show of having a “concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mr Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

The streamer refused to take down Joe Rogan’s podcast and is removing Neil Young’s music.

Other high-profile public figures are now standing up – either out of principle or in solidarity with Mr Young.

Joni Mitchell became the second eminent artist to move against Spotify over its approach to Mr Rogan’s misinformation about coronavirus vaccines.

US academic, author and podcast host Brené Brown, whom Harry and Meghan have previously said they “adore”, followed, claiming she would not be hosting any further episodes of her Spotify-exclusive shows.

Spotify’s shares were down by 12 percent the week after the conflict began.

Its market capitalisation fell £1.5billion ($2.1billion) over three days this week.

Online searches for “Cancel Spotify” exploded 316 percent worldwide on January 27, analysis of Google search data showed.

Some users are indeed ending their premium subscription.

British author and journalist Stephen Pollard said on Saturday: “I’ve cancelled my Spotify subscription in protest at its decision to push vaccine lies via Joe Rogan.

“Please consider doing the same.”

Richard Eden, the Daily Mail’s diary editor, replied to Mr Pollard’s announcement: “Don’t do that, or Prince Harry and Meghan will have no money!”

Calls for the Sussexes to speak out about their view on the issue are on the rise, too.

Last September, at the GQ Men of the Year Awards, the Duke blamed overwhelming “mass-scale misinformation for Covid vaccine hesitancy.

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As he presented a prize to the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, he said: “Families around the world are being overwhelmed by mass-scale misinformation across news media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn leads to divided communities and eroding trust.

“This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the risk of new variants.”

Prince Harry has in the past criticised Mr Rogan’s handling of pandemic information.

In May last year, he warned the commentator that “with a platform comes responsibility”, urging him to “just stay out of it”.

He added: “The issue is in today’s world with misinformation endemic.

“You’ve got to be careful about what comes out of your mouth.”

Harry’s remarks followed a podcast episode in which Mr Rogan said: “If you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’, I’ll go, ‘No’.

“If you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”

Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, are well-known supporters of the Covid vaccine – and of vaccine equity.

They served as campaign chairs Global Citizen’s VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, which aimed “to inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get the COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, everywhere.”

For now, the couple remains silent on the Joe Rogan-Spotify saga.

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