Joni Mitchell's music catalog returns to Spotify after 2022 protest

Mitchell removed her music from the platform in solidarity with Neil Young after both protested its support of Joe Rogan's podcast.
Joni Mitchell is pictured.
Posted at 9:12 PM, Mar 25, 2024

Joni Mitchell has looked at Spotify from "Both Sides Now" — those sides being the one with her music off the streaming service and the one with it back on again.

The folk singer's catalog quietly returned to the platform last week to the joy of users who have had to go elsewhere to hear classics like "River" and "Big Yellow Taxi" over the last two-plus years. 

That's how long it's been since the 80-year-old, in solidarity with rocker Neil Young, pulled her music from Spotify to protest its then-exclusive deal with podcast host Joe Rogan, whom both singers — along with health care officials — said was spreading COVID-19 misinformation with the help of Spotify's distribution.

Young's music was first removed from the streaming service in January 2022 after he briefly posted a letter on his website saying Spotify was "spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them." He wrote, "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both," according to Rolling Stone.

Soon after, Mitchell said on her website that she decided to remove her music from Spotify to stand with Young and "the global scientific and medical communities on this issue."

"Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives," the statement also read.

The announcement came alongside an open letter to Spotify, which called on the platform to implement a misinformation policy to "mitigate the damage" allegedly created by hosts like Rogan who "repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine."

The letter centered on an episode of Rogan's show that featured Dr. Robert Malone, who spoke of discredited theories about COVID-19 including that "societal leaders have 'hypnotized' the public," it said.

But now that Rogan's podcast is not exclusive to Spotify, meaning it's available to stream on other platforms, Young said the boycott's purpose is gone, and it appears Mitchell is again standing by her colleague. 

Neil Young returning to Spotify after boycott over Joe Rogan
Combination photo shows musical artist Neil Young, left, and media personality Joe Rogan.

Neil Young returning to Spotify after boycott over Joe Rogan

The musician pulled his music from the streaming service in 2022 over alleged misinformation spread by Rogan's podcast on Spotify.


Though he didn't mention the controversial host by name, Young wrote on his website earlier this month that his decision to return his music to Spotify came as other music services, like Apple and Amazon, "have started serving the same disinformation podcast features I had opposed at Spotify." 

"I cannot just leave Apple and Amazon, like I did Spotify, because my music would have very little streaming outlet to music lovers at all, so I have returned to Spotify," he wrote. 

Mitchell hasn't commented on her music's return to the streaming platform, but it comes as she's stepped back into the spotlight after years largely away due to a serious health incident that left her unable to speak.

Now the folk singer is back to performing, including at the Grammy Awards in February. She's also set for two nights at the Hollywood Bowl this fall.