Neil Young vs. Spotify: a modern fable?

The decision by pop legend and multiple Grammy Award winner Neil Young to leave Spotify is making waves in Europe's press. Young publicly informed the streaming platform that it had to choose between him and podcaster Joe Rogan, arguing that the latter was spreading potentially fatal misinformation about the coronavirus. Spotify has now posted a warning on Rogan's show.

Open/close all quotes (ES) /

Facts and lies must not be equal

Author Irene Lozano praises Neil Young in

“Platforms, search engines and social networks are being revealed for what they are: publishers of content, and consequently responsible for what they publish, just like the media. ... If today fake news and disinformation are undermining public debate and the very foundations of democracies, it is because there are people in key positions of responsibility who are convinced that truth and lies should be kept in balance in this world. ... Fortunately, there are also people like Neil Young. ... While the rest of us are obsessed with visibility, he has gained people's attention by disappearing. ... And he has put that attention at the service of the common good, public debate and people's health.”

Heise Online (DE) /

Time for him to go

Spotify had no choice but to remove Neil Young's songs, writes the IT news portal Heise:

“Anything else would have meant giving in to blackmail. Regardless of the fact that Young and Mitchell acted on honourable motives: a platform cannot be expected to expel certain members just because other members complain about them. Let's imagine the reverse scenario: right-wingers demanding Young's expulsion because they're annoyed with him. In this case there can only be one consequence: that they are the ones who have to go.”

Kauppalehti (FI) /

Business on a knife edge

This affair puts Spotify in a very risky position economically, says Kauppalehti:

“For Spotify, podcasts are a growing source of revenue where advertising can easily be placed. ... The company has signed a 100 million dollar deal with host Joe Rogan, for example. ... Ending its collaboration with Joe Rogan would lead to a big drop in advertising revenues. But that could also happen if Rogan stays with Spotify, other artists take their work off the platform, and customers also leave. ... Whatever Spotify does, the business is on a knife edge.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

No magic filter for disinformation

De Volkskrant welcomes the fact that Spotify has added a warning notice:

“Once again it has become clear that few online platforms can still hide behind the naïve idea that they are just a service hatch for content. Even Spotify is more than just a jukebox. ... With this understanding comes a responsibility that is not (yet) enshrined in law. ... Laws are being prepared, but a magic filter for disinformation is unthinkable, simply because the line between information and disinformation is not always clear. ... With that in mind, it's good that all those concerned have now started shouldering this responsibility.”

Upsala Nya Tidning (SE) /

Lack of regulations opens the door for arbitrariness

Upsala Nya Tidning would like to see uniform rules for publishing platforms like Spotify or Twitter:

“The basic principle should be that companies decide for themselves with whom they do business and how. But companies are different from state or legal institutions. Where there are no clear rules, the door opens for arbitrariness, shitstorms - and pressure, for example from states. Joe Rogan and Trump can get their way irrespective of the decisions of individual companies. But what about citizens who are arbitrarily suspended because a bunch of people report certain accounts, or a podcast that an economically powerful dictatorship wants to stop?”