In a rather unique turn of events in 2022, Neil Young had to clarify that a pharmaceutical company is not responsible for its music catalog, after removing it from Spotify in protest against vaccine misinformation hosted by Joe Rogan.
Young found himself at the center of a bizarre conspiracy that attempted to link Hipgnosis Song Management to Pfizer. Hipgnosis owns a 50% stake in Young’s catalog. In turn, investment firm Blackstone owns a stake in Hipgnosis. Blackstone hired Jeff Kindler as a senior adviser in 2020, who was previously CEO of Pfizer. Kindler left the post more than a decade ago, in 2010.
This loose web of connection was enough for some to speculate that Neil Young didn’t make the decision to pull his music from Spotify himself. Instead, it was carried out by an investment company in the pocket of Big Pharma, exerting its influence on Young to protest against truth seeker and dewormer advocate Joe Rogan.
In a new letter posted to the Neil Young Archives, Young clarified an erroneous statement he made regarding a petition against Joe Rogan and Spotify (it was signed by more than 270 medical professionals, including nurses and doctors). hospital assistants, not 270 doctors). He also clarified that no, Pfizer was not behind his decision to remove his music from Spotify.
It reads: ‘The letter that prompted me to take action on Spotify was written by 270 medical professionals, not doctors. I wrongly said they were doctors after reading misinformation on the internet. About a third of them were doctors. But many of the others were nurses and hospital assistants. I respect and honor all of these people and the work they continue to do as I write this. I read their entire letter.
“I always support them. My mistake was to call them all doctors,” Young wrote, before quoting an early version of a Guardian title which indicates that the letter was written by 270 doctors. “So I too was misinformed!” Young added. “I’m glad it’s not a life or death decision for me.”
“Also for your information,” he continued, “to further clarify misleading misinformation online that is used to make points against me in some of the letters included here: the editing part that Hipgnosis has in my copyright is in the Hipgnosis Songs Fund which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
“Blackstone’s investment went into a separate private Hipgnosis fund and none of that money was used for the Hipgnosis Songs fund. Pfizer has not invested in Hipgnosis but a former Pfizer CEO is a senior advisor to Blackstone…
“Too bad for Big Pharma! So much for PHARM help! Clever but wrong.
Young ended her letter by asking her fans to “Be well, love the earth.”
If Pfizer was really behind the removal of Young’s music from Spotify, that would be tantamount to accepting that Kindler deliberately persuaded Blackstone/Hipgnosis to obtain Neil Young’s catalog specifically for the purpose of protesting Joe Rogan for the benefit of a pharmaceutical company he left 10 years ago. It should be, because Pfizer doesn’t currently own any stake in Neil Young’s catalog — or any musician’s, because it’s a pharmaceutical company.
Like snopes said: “The claim that the pharmaceutical company ‘owned Young’s music catalog’ was patently false, and the theory of a fantastic network of corruption, with Kindler at its center, was presented without any concrete evidence. and, perhaps more importantly, made no sense whatsoever.