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Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren joins protest of Spotify over Covid misinformation

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In this March 15, 2016 file photo, Bruce Springsteen, center, performs with Nils Lofgren, left, and Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band during their concert at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in Los Angeles. Springsteen’s latest album, “Letter To You” will be released on Oct. 23.
Chris Pizzello | AP

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren is the latest musician to pull songs from Spotify to protest the streaming service carrying comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast.

In a statement on Saturday, Lofgren urged others to stand with “hundreds of health care professionals, scientists, doctors and nurses in calling out Spotify for promoting lies and misinformation that are hurting and killing people.”

Lofgren said the last 27 years of his music has already been taken off Spotify and he is working with music labels to get the earlier songs removed.

Spotify is facing backlash for its decision to continue to air Rogan’s popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” despite concerns that it is spreading Covid misinformation. Rogan interviewed Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist who has become well-known among anti-vaccine Americans. Malone has been banned from Twitter.

Spotify could not be immediately reached for comment. In a statement on Thursday, the company said it reviews content for misinformation and has “removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.”

Neil Young began the protest, insisting that Spotify remove his music. Joni Mitchell said Friday that she would join the protest and get her music pulled as well.

Bruce Springsteen (L) and Nils Lofgren with the E Street Band perform at Veterans Park in celebration of the 105th anniversary of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 30, 2008.
Allen Fredrickson | Reuters

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell said Friday in a message posted on her website. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Best-selling author Brene Brown said Saturday on Twitter that she would “not be releasing any podcasts until further notice.” She’s behind the popular podcasts “Unlocking Us” and “Dare to Lead.”

CNBC could not immediately reach Brown for comment about the decision.

Separately, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, have expressed concerns to Spotify over Covid misinformation, but said they will continue to work with the company, according to a Reuters report on Sunday. The report cited a spokesperson for Archewell, the couple’s foundation. The couple signed an exclusive streaming deal with Spotify in 2020.

Spotify’s shares closed Friday at $172.98, up about 1%. Shares have fallen about 26% so far this year. The company’s stock hit a 52-week low of $164.41 on Friday amid market turbulence and the Spotify controversy.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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