Bragging and Dragging:

Apple Music seems to have a new marketing campaign: Humble bragging that it offers Neil Young’s music. The corporate snark comes after Spotify, Apple Music’s largest competitor, was forced to remove the singer’s catalog due to his objections over the platform allowing Covid misinformation to be broadcast on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Apple’s passive-aggressiveness has been subtle, adopting the understated spite of a toxic ex posting an Instagram thirst trap right after a breakup. The jabs started Tuesday, a day after Young published a since-deleted letter demanding his management and label remove his music from Spotify. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both,” he wrote. Shortly after the letter went public, Apple Music posted a thinly veiled tweet that read, “It’s always a good idea to stream @NeilYoungNYA.”

Apple Music continued to shade Spotify on Thursday, sending subscribers a push notification promoting Barn, Young’s latest album with Crazy Horse, as available to stream using the platform’s self-described “immersive” Spatial Audio feature. As of this article’s publication, Apple Music’s pinned tweet declares the platform “the home of Neil Young,” while the app features a dedicated a tab on its browse page to Young titled, “We Love Neil.”

Even fellow musicians joined Apple’s social media pile-on, with Peter Frampton tweeting, “Good for you Neil. I’ve always been an Apple guy for streaming. No Joe Rogan for me thank you!”

The “After the Gold Rush” rocker demanded his music be removed from Spotify on Monday because of “life-threatening Covid falsehoods found in Spotify programming” — particularly Joe Rogan’s podcast, which has garnered controversy for platforming anti-vaccine theories. Young said that Spotify represents 60% of his streaming income.

Spotify hasn’t said whether it will take any action regarding Rogan — but in a statement Wednesday, the streaming giant claimed it’s removed over 20,000 podcasts due to misleading content since the pandemic began. “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” the company said. “With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators… We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.” The service’s customer support site was also offline briefly Thursday amid a rise in complaints.

Apple isn’t the only music service to emphasize Young’s content in light of the controversy. SiriusXM announced Thursday that it is bringing back Neil Young Radio, with Young’s music set to take over its Deep Tracks channel for the next seven days.


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