- 15 Mar 22
A museum has decided to steer clear of Spotify for the audio of their new exhibit on American folk legend Woody Guthrie.
The organisers of a new exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum titled “Woody Guthrie: The People are the Song” have decided to use an alternative source for their audio tour in lieu of Spotify’s recent Joe Rogan controversy.
“When we were considering the idea of a playlist as part of the exhibit, I was aware of Spotify being an evolving conversation in the media,” says Anna Canoni, Guthrie’s granddaughter and president of Woody Guthrie Publications. “So I asked the Morgan Library if there was an alternative to Spotify and they said yes. And I said, ‘Let’s do that!’”
Guthrie's daughter Nora also spoke on the decision saying: “My father would have stayed away from them as much as possible.”
The choice comes after several artists pulled their music from Spotify in protest of the service's continued streaming of The Joe Rogan Experience. The podcast has been at the centre of substantial controversy for spreading misinformation about the pandemic and making dubious medical claims.
“Once Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Graham Nash pulled their music from Spotify, the family asked if we could choose a different platform for the exhibition playlist,” museum curator, Philip Palmer, said. “Given the musical connections between Guthrie and artists like Mitchell, we just could not in good conscience use Spotify for our playlist.”
Woody Guthrie was known for his outspoken support of labourers and his promotion of socialist sentiments. His songs often chronicled the everyday struggles of Americans during the plight of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. His legacy made an immense impact on America and paved the way for singer/songwriters like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.
Several of his most iconic songs that will be incorporated in the Morgan Museum's exhibit include ‘Union Maid’, ‘Riding in My Car’, ‘Tom Joad’, and his most famous tune ‘This Land Is Your Land’.
As of now, Guthrie's music remains available on Spotify. A decision has not been made as to whether or not the folk singer's music will remain on the platform. “I’m not pro or anti,” says Canoni. “I don’t know where it’s going to land. In general, we’re not in that aspect of the industry. But when in doubt, we err on the side of the artist.”