Money talks

In a world governed by profit, the biggest casualty is the truth.

A handful of multi billion dollar corporations control the flow of information to the biggest audience (that’s us us muggles) and, as long as it is financially advantageous, any old crap can be pedalled as fact by abusing the free speech argument.

Three weeks ago, no less than 270 scientists and doctors put their names to a letter accusing Spotify’s star podcaster Joe Rogan of broadcasting inaccuracies about COVID-19, and in particular vaccinations.

But it only became news last week when songwriting legend Neil Young accused Rogan, and in turn the streaming service, of spreading lies for money by “spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them”.

With the backing of his record company, Young issued a clear ultimatum – Spotify could have him or Rogan on its platform, but not both.

The company signed up The Joe Rogan Experience in a $100million exclusive deal just over 18 months ago and the show gets an estimated 200 million downloads a month.

Money talks regardless of what is being said and so a 50plus year catalogue of solo work including Harvest Moon, Heart Of Gold, After The Goldrush and Rocking In The Free World was removed from the platform.

E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren quickly followed, demanding the removal of his solo output and within 24 hours fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell also expressed a wish for her material to be taken down.

And so in the pace of a couple of days, the world’s leading music streamer, whose aim was supposedly to make all recorded music available to its subscribers, showed its real priority.

Profit doesn’t have to be a dirty word, but Spotify, even if it never had a soul to sell, certainly sold out a significant percentage of music lovers this week.

And the more willing they show themselves to be on that front, the costlier it will become for them in the long run.

Because its growing roster of prestige contributors such as the Obamas and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have a tipping point where the protection of their reputations and credibility will become more important than the cash.

Then Spotify could really come to regret its decision.

Neil Young (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

………………………………….

I suppose one has to give the Metropolitan Police full marks for bare-faced cheek if nothing else by “requesting” that civil servant Sue Gray makes minimal reference to specific breaches of lockdown rules in her report about Whitehall supposedly being party central, in case it prejudices any future prosecutions.

I sincerely hope she is immune to this passive intimidation and forwards the full report without redactions to Downing Street without further delay.

With no charges made yet, nothing is sub judice, there is no active case and she has every right to tell the Met to jog on.

My reply would be a little stronger than that, I must admit. Their interference is utterly outrageous.

Anything less than full disclosure would be a betrayal of our right to know.

Stupid TV quiz answers of the week

Tipping Point:

Q: Famously used by Sir Francis Drake, what kind of transport was The Golden Hind?

A: A car?

Q: Eric Bartholomew and Ernest Wiseman were the names of which comedy duo?

A: Ernie and Wise.

Special mention to The Chase contestant who thought the musical Mamma Mia! was written by Rogers and Hammerstein and also snooker star Denis Taylor on The Weakest Link, who thought the Arc de Triomphe was in Rome.

Advertisement

Edward Case

Columnist