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Here’s How Neil Young & Joni Mitchell Have Performed in Streaming Amid Spotify Removals Print-ready version

Despite their Spotify absences, both revered artists are streaming at higher levels than before, amid general renewed interest and promotion from other services.

by Kevin Rutherford
February 2, 2022

Jan. 27 marked the first full day that Neil Young's catalog was removed from Spotify, after the rock icon told the streaming service to effectively choose either him or podcaster Joe Rogan, due to Young's disagreement with Rogan's comments about COVID-19 vaccines.

Joni Mitchell is one of multiple other acts who had their material removed from Spotify in solidarity, with the bulk of the likewise revered singer-songwriter's catalog off the provider as of Jan. 30.

How have Young and Mitchell performed in streaming just before and after their Spotify departures? Here's a look, according to initial reports of daily on-demand, official U.S. streaming totals to MRC Data.

Neil Young

In the days leading up to Young's Spotify removal, which began Jan. 26 and was complete, beyond a few stray tracks, by Jan. 27, streams of his catalog among all reporters to MRC Data - solo and with the various bands with whom he's worked, including Crazy Horse, Promise of the Real and Stray Gators - rose, from 745,000 total U.S. on-demand streams Jan. 24 to 1.1 million Jan. 25. Young drew another gain Jan. 26, to 1.2 million, before a drop to 792,000 Jan. 27, the first full day of his Spotify exit, although still more overall than before the news that he would be removing his catalog.

That's when the gains began again. On Jan. 28, Young's sum was back up to 1.2 million, even with the absence of a major streaming provider, with streams holding at 1.2 million Jan. 29. By Jan. 30, they fell to 913,000, although the count remained higher than Young's total prior to the news of his Spotify boycott.

Along with a general raised public awareness of Young and Mitchell's music amid each artist's Spotify exodus, Apple Music (one of the other notable streaming services that reports to MRC) promoted their catalogs prominently.

Neil Young Daily U.S. Streams

Jan. 24: 745,000
Jan. 25: 1.1 million (up 41% from the day before)
Jan. 26: 1.2 million (up 16%)
Jan. 27: 792,000 (down 35%)
Jan. 28: 1.2 million (up 52%)
Jan. 29: 1.2 million (up 3%)
Jan. 30: 913,000 (down 26%)

Meanwhile, Young's album sales jumped from a negligible amount Jan. 24 to a high of 2,000 by Jan. 29. His song sales followed a similar pattern, up from a nominal amount Jan. 24 to as high as 2,000 Jan. 27.

Joni Mitchell

Mitchell was the highest profile musician to follow Young's move off Spotify. Following the announcement that much of her catalog would no longer be available on the service, she grew from 347,000 overall streams Jan. 28 to 699,000 Jan. 29. That number fell to 508,000 Jan. 30, the first full day that some of her albums were removed; unlike Young, some of Mitchell's LPs remain on Spotify, chiefly her releases on Geffen Records. Again, as with Young, that most recent total outperformed her showing before the news of her removal from Spotify.

Joni Mitchell Daily U.S. Streams

Jan. 26: 315,000
Jan. 27: 322,000 (up 2% from the day before)
Jan. 28: 347,000 (up 8%)
Jan. 29: 699,000 (up 102%)
Jan. 30: 508,000 (down 27%)

As for her sales, Mitchell's album purchases and paid song downloads gained to 1,000 apiece Jan. 29, up from negligible amounts the previous few days.

Activity for Young and Mitchell are likely to be further reflected on Billboard's weekly charts dated Feb. 12, encompassing the Jan. 28-Feb. 3 tracking week. All charts dated Feb. 12 will post Tuesday, Feb. 8.

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Added to Library on February 3, 2022. (1095)


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