David Byrne says he believes that Spotify is “making artists uncomfortable” around the scandal relating to COVID misinformation shared on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Earlier this year, Rogan and Spotify were heavily criticised for sharing misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine on the exclusive podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, which led to artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removing their music from the service.

Byrne, who in 2013 publicly criticised the “pittance” artists are paid in terms of royalties from streaming services like Spotify, and claimed he had pulled as much of his catalogue as possible from the service, was asked his thoughts on the ongoing scandal in a new interview with the Guardian.

“There’s been all these things about platforms having … let’s say questionable or controversial content [and] putting out misinformation or outright lies or … not exactly hate speech, but things that are making a lot of artists uncomfortable,” he said.

“And it’s pretty tough to do anything to help ameliorate that unless you’re a Drake or Taylor Swift, or those kinds of artists. It’s pretty hard for the rest of us to have influence.”

David Byrne
David Byrne performs during the David Byrne’s “American Utopia” Reopening Night at St. James Theatre on October 17, 2021 in New York City. (Picture: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Byrne added: “A handful of mega, mega artists are doing really well, and many of the others – especially emerging artists – are having a tough time with it. There was definitely a period where I thought, “Oh, this is going to be tough for a lot of artists”, especially with Spotify’s “freemium” layer.

I watched as Taylor Swift went to Apple and said, “You can’t do this; you can’t have a freemium layer that will last forever.” And she – I mean, bless her heart – she managed to get them to [change their policy]. Which I think was brave for her and good for a lot of the rest of us.”

Elsewhere, David Byrne and Mitski released a new collaboration called ‘This Is A Life’ last week (March 8). The song features on the soundtrack for the new A24 film, Everything Everywhere All At Once.

The post David Byrne: “Spotify is making artists uncomfortable” appeared first on NME.


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