Culture

Barry Manilow Denies Joining Neil Young in Laughable Spotify Battle Over Joe Rogan Podcast

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Update: Barry Manilow denies reports that he is considering pulling off Spotify. The story is updated to reflect that change.

Barry Manilow is denying reports that he is joining rock singer Neil Young in threatening to ditch Spotify over their decision to continue giving Joe Rogan’s podcast a platform despite alleged COVID-19 misinformation.

Young started another stereotypical left-wing movement against dissenting opinions when he referred to the music streaming platform as a “very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID” in a statement posted on his website.

For the record, his website was so outdated it’s called Neil Young Archives, and I was not even able to copy and paste the above quote because of its outdated technology.

“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” he declared, according to the BBC.

So, to nobody’s surprise, Spotify sided with their money-maker Rogan and Young’s music is now off the service.

“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. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic,” Spotify said in response, according to The New York Times. “We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify but hope to welcome him back soon.”

Barry Manilow, the “Copacabana” singer, was rumored to be following suit, which has earned him both praise and mockery on social media.

@barrymanilow thank you for the principled stance you have taken, kind sir! I love your music and will happily find it somewhere else other than @spotify,” actress Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted.

“Thank you @barrymanilow for taking a surefooted step to support science, and protest potentially lethal misinformation disseminated by @Spotify via #JoeRogan. Over 800,000 Americans have DIED in 2 years. LIVES must come before revenue. #Spotifydeleted,” Debra Messing said.

“HAHAHAHAHA if true,” conservative radio host Dana Loesch said.

As it turned out, the rumors were false.

“I recently heard a rumor about me and Spotify. I don’t know where it started, but it didn’t start with me or anyone who represents me,” Manilow tweeted Friday afternoon.

It’s a smart move for him to want to have no part in this petty drama, and hopefully he decides to stay out of it.

While nobody said these artists have to agree with Rogan, Young is doing nothing but performative activism. Both of these artists are wealthy enough that Spotify revenue probably does not make a dent in their bank accounts, and they probably are well aware that Rogan will always win this made-up battle.

“The Joe Rogan Experience” averages around 11 million viewers per show, according to data from Nielsen and Spotify. It would be one of the most ridiculous business decisions in the media industry to ditch Rogan. Even if they did, his audience is large enough that he would have a lucrative following wherever he would go next.

Instead of asking for Rogan to be de-platformed, celebrities who disagree should be demanding an interview with him on his show. It would not only be great exposure for them, but it would force them to make a convincing case for their views as well.

The answer is always more speech, not less.