SiriusXM relaunched its Neil Young Radio channel on Thursday. Although the company made no mention of it, the timing of the announcement comes just a day after Young's music was pulled from Spotify. The living music legend demanded his label and management remove his music from the streaming platform due to Spotify's continuing support for Joe Rogan, who has shared COVID-19 misinformation and skepticism about vaccines on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
Neil Young Radio will take over SiriusXM's Deep Tracks, channel 27, for one week. It will also be available for a month on the SXM app, SiriusXM announced. The channel's playlist will include rarities and exclusives, his best-known hits and fan-favorites, and selections from his time with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Young's latest album, Barn, will be played in full and there will be interviews with Young about his music. "I want to introduce you to some stuff that no one's ever heard before," Young said in a statement.
"When you have an opportunity to present an iconic artist still at the height of his creativity, you don't hesitate to do it, again," Steve Blatter, SiriusXM Senior Vice President and General Manager, Music Programming. "Outspoken, brave, and a true music icon, Neil Young is in a rare class of artists, and we are honored to collaborate with him to create a special audio experience for his fans."
On Monday, Young published an open letter to his record company Warner Music Group and his management, demanding Spotify take off his music unless Spotify took action against Rogan. "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," Young wrote in a now-deleted post. "Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule."
On Wednesday, Spotify chose Rogan over Young and the "Heart of Gold" singer's music disappeared from the platform. "We want all the world's music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators," a Spotify spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. "We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon."
Young later published another statement on his website, and thanked Warner Bros. and Reprise Records for standing by his decision, even if it meant "losing 60% of my worldwide streaming income in the name of truth." He later called Spotify "the home of life-threatening COVID misinformation. Lies being sold for money." Young hoped that other artists and labels will follow his example and "stop supporting Spotify's deadly misinformation about COVID."