Joni Mitchell's music returns to Spotify after two-year boycott over COVID 'disinformation'



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Joni Mitchell’s music is back on Spotify, more than two years after she followed Neil Young in pulling her songs from the streaming service in protest of what they described as amplifying COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

The songwriter’s hits, including “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Both Sides Now,” could be found on Spotify’s service on Friday.

The 80-year-old performer — who this week performed at a tribute concert for Elton John and Bernie Taupin hosted by the Library of Congress in Washington — had announced in January 2022 that she was standing “in solidarity” with Young and having her music catalogue removed from Spotify due to “irresponsible people” who were “spreading lies that are costing people their lives.”

Young had given Spotify an ultimatum that year, to choose between featuring his music or Joe Rogan’s podcast, which he accused of “spreading fake information about vaccines.” The move by the “Heart of Gold” singer came after 270 health professionals signed an open letter asking that a counter-information policy be developed in light of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, dubbing its hosts ideas as “fringe” and “not backed in science.”

Last month, Spotify struck a multiyear deal with Rogan that ended its exclusivity agreement, making his show available on competing platforms. 

While Mitchell didn’t issue a statement about her music’s return to Spotify, in a post last week on his website, 78-year-old Young wrote, “My decision comes as music services 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, in sincere hopes that Spotify sound quality will improve and people will be able to hear and feel all the music as we made it,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said. 

A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment to ITK about Mitchell and Young’s songs being available once again on its service. 

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