The chairman of The Ivors Academy has called for “major reform” so musicians are treated with “dignity and respect” amid criticism of Spotify over Covid-19 misinformation on the platform.
Prominent musicians including Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have criticised the streaming giant over its decision to continue hosting the popular Joe Rogan podcast.
The presenter has sparked outrage for repeatedly spreading Covid conspiracy theories and for promoting the use of ivermectin to treat Covid symptoms – an anti-parasitic medicine which treats humans and, in some formulations, is used on horses and has not been proven to be effective for treating coronavirus.
Ivors Academy chairman Tom Gray, of the Mercury Prize-winning band Gomez, said companies should not assume musicians consent to their material appearing alongside misinformation.
He said in a statement to the PA news agency: “The balance of power in music is shifting to where it should be – to fans, artists, songwriters and composers.
“No company, no matter how big, can ignore that or assume that musicians will be OK with their music appearing alongside misinformation.
“If Spotify and the major labels haven’t already noticed, lots of artists are very unhappy.
“There needs to be major reform so that songwriters and musicians get properly paid for their work and are treated with dignity and respect.
“The Government are listening and committed to reform, I hope the industry is too.”
Gray, who was only this week announced as the new chairman of The Ivors Academy for songwriters and composers, has been advocating for music makers to receive a greater share of royalties from streaming through his Broken Record campaign.
A report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee previously warned “pitiful returns” from the streaming model are affecting the “entire creative ecosystem”.
Spotify’s hosting of the Joe Rogan podcast has prompted criticism from scientists, podcasters and famous subscribers, such as Hollywood actress Sharon Stone, who has said she is cancelling her payments to the streamer.
Wendy Zukerman and Blythe Terrell, creators of the Science Vs podcast, said they will stop producing content, aside from episodes dedicated to fact-checking Covid-19 misinformation, until the streaming giant cracks down on the issue.
US psychologist and author Mary L Trump, niece of former president Donald, said she was also removing her podcast from Spotify.
Some fans of Taylor Swift have called on the pop superstar to remove her music from the platform.
The Grammy winner removed her entire catalogue in 2014, saying its ad-supported free service undermined its premium service, which provided higher royalties for songwriters. However, she re-added her music three years later.
Musicians David Crosby and Stephen Stills have joined Nash and Young, saying in a statement on Twitter that there is “dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify’s Joe Rogan podcast”.
In a joint statement, Crosby, Stills and Nash said that until “real action” is taken, they do not want their music or the music they made together “to be on the same platform”.
It comes as Gloria Estefan is due to testify before a House Judiciary Committee session in the US about the compensation of recording artists when their music is played on radio.
Ahead of the session, the Cuban-American singer and actress wrote on Twitter: “Music creators deserve to be paid when their music is played on the radio. Tell Congress we need them to stand for fairness!”
Podcast host Rogan has said he will try to “balance out” the opinions expressed on his show and Spotify boss Daniel Ek issued a statement saying the platform was working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about Covid-19.
Despite this pledge, the White House has said “more can be done” by the company.