Behind Neil Young vs. Spotify, a Fraught Relationship With Musicians

Feb 01, 2022 · 92 comments
DecliningSociety (Baltimore)
Imagine going back in time and telling people of the dystopian future where Neil Young takes the side of big government, big pharma, big tech, and big censorship! Neil Young took a break from his daily drug cocktail (or maybe not) to remind everyone that this virus definitely came from nature and not from a global coronavirus manipulation lab run by Fauci and his pals selling you the cure! Keep on rockin in the "misinformation" world!
D. Whit. (In the wind)
If Joni Mitchell says you are a no good money grubbing pillar of evil then I support her and I do not know all the in's and out's of the argument. Also, I do not care for Joe Rogan and his type. So long Spotify.
foodalchemist (not NYC)
Classic tunes are great, but how much music do those artists sell? Every once in a while a former best-seller reenters the charts like Spiegelman's superb graphic novel "Maus." For music, it's often because of a movie soundtrack. Other than that, Neil Young doesn't move much merchandise. Joni Mitchell hasn't done so in more than forty years. Neil Young also doesn't need much help with his "bottom line" since he sold 50% of the rights to his catalogue for 150 million just under 13 months ago. Gotta wonder what Hipgnosis, who bought that 50%, makes of all this. But in any event, what are the current chart toppers doing? All the rappers and hip-hop artists with silly made up names? Nils Lofgren? Don't make folks google his name now. What about Kanye, and Drake, and the bands that have played Super Bowl halftime shows in recent years? I can't stand what Joe Rogan and Spotify represent. I also can't stand rap and hip-hop, for what it's worth (Neil Young reference for those too young to get it!). The internet, social media, and the attendant misinformation which did NOT have to ride along, may very well be the death of us all when everything's said and done. Not the Russians, Chinese, or crazy ayatollahs, sheikhs, and emirs. But for the umpteenth time, none of this has anything to do with free speech. The government's not censoring anybody here, although you could look to books the GOP doesn't like for a current example of actual free speech violations. Rogan's just a mirror.
Zen Scarlett (Florida voter)
Neil Young is a stellar musician/poet/vocalist. Be it whatever century/generation of talent let their voices speak for themselves. It's his music...his choices. "I know that some of you don't understand.." (The Needle and the Damage Done)
MsAOD (Sfo)
I feel a bit dicey about this whole thing. I listen to a lot of podcasts but don’t listen to Rogan because it’s not my thing. There are a lot However, there does seem to be this fixation on taking him out as well as Spotify because they don’t like what he is saying. I’m just feeling like this is becoming a proxy war with our frustrations with the tenaciousness of misinformation ( I know people who quote Fox talking points verbatim about anti-vaccines nonsense), and how stubborn and selfish so many are to combat this virus. It seems they believe if only they get rid of Joe Rogan, everyone will step up and do the right thing. I think more voices on Spotify should have prominence in combatting misinformation but also clarifying the confusion, and there is a lot more Spotify can do. Rogan should be held more accountable but this whole thing is making me uneasy.
Nreb (La La Land)
One MUST remember that musicians are good at making MUSIC but are NOT necessarily bright or correct in their outlook on REALITY!
Elizabeth (CA)
Many recording artists who are fortunate enough to have professional labels see ZILCH from streaming platforms. If you are on the side of artists, please buy CDs and albums and tickets. Artists get typically less than a penny every time you stream. The cost of creating a professionally mixed album is huge, especially if it's not a solo artist. Kind of puts that $100,000,000 for Rogan in perspective, doesn't it?
Sam (NYC)
My digital-native kids would like to think they contributed in some small way to the $41.5 million earned by Billie Eilish in digital singles.
barbara (santa cruz ca)
@Sam how much does a new act who has not yet earn awards or get on major magazine covers get. i imagine very little
Sol Hurok (Backstage)
There's really no equivalent for Spotify's decision re: Young and Rogan to the days of Tower Records et al. For one monthly price you can access anything on Spotify (or Apple Music, Tidal, etc), whereas at any old-school retailer you chose to buy only individual recordings. And of course streaming (and why remains of digital downloading) predominates now. Since this is the current distribution system for new and older music (and yes, podcasts, too), artists have relatively few options to sell to fans. Just pointing this out to those who think Neil's stand re: Spotify-Rogan is lessened in any way just because Apple, Amazon, etc also are morally or ethically compromised businesses. Bottom line - get vaxed, wear a mask, beat back covid, and buy tickets for live music.
Mark (Princeton)
What's getting lost in this discussion is that Spotify paid 100 million to license Rogan's podcasts. Whether you act on it or not, they are peddling disinformation that is harmful. Mr. Ek seems to think that simply slapping a content advisory on is sufficient. It's clear where their motivations are. As far as musicians go: Spotify's mission statement reads that their mission is “to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these creators.” My music generates .00027 cents a stream. Do the math.
JVG (Vallejo, CA)
Americans are sick and tired of misinformation. We read in today's NYT that the US has suffered a significantly higher rate of covid deaths than other wealthy nations. Why would that be? Not enough people vaccinated. And why is that? Much of it is attributable to misinformation. The kind peddled by people like Joe Rogan. We all suffer because of it.
Lisa M (Midwest)
Look - I'm a 59 year old listener and paid subscriber of Spotify. I like it because I find new music every day and listen to artists I've never heard of. I'm not stuck in the past and can sample from a wide variety of genres. I usually listen to Podcasts via my Apple app. I'm not canceling Spotify. Honestly, let some artists pull their music - I don't need every artist on there. I also don't need to tune into garbage like Rogan's podcasts. There is a certain irony that these same artists have taken to social media to decry the misinformation on a streaming service when social apps are no better despite what they proclaim.
James Osborne (Vernon, BC, Canada)
In responsible societies, the right of free speech ends at the deliberate dissemination of misinformation. That is not dissent or alternate views, it is knowingly telling lies to mislead people.
DecliningSociety (Baltimore)
@James Osborne someone tell CNN and Adam Shiff
David (Winfield, IL)
Spotify is a privately held company. If they said that Joe the Mo Rogan had to meet standards, or be taken off, that is totally their right and the artists have the same right to pull their music off the site. Joe and his ilk have been screaming fire in the theater for years, now. They are leading a lot of people down a dark path of hate and vitriol. I blame Fox News, frankly.
PK (NJ)
@David I agree with you but FYI Spotify isn’t privately owned anymore
John (Midwest)
Guess I’ll show my age here. I can’t fathom the idea of listening to somebody yak endlessly in a podcast. Words and opinions are cheap and there’s so many people talking. I’d much rather listen to music. Thank god we still have some artists interested in creating something that makes you think. Joe Rogan I know nothing about and could care less to find out about. Sounds like he’s just more forgettable entertainment for the intellectually lazy.
miriam (Astoria, Queens)
@John I'm on Medicare and I like podcasts as well as music. Did you never watch a good TV documentary when you were young?
Phil Goldstein (Pleasantville)
These artists apparently think their fans are much less gullible than they themselves are and unable to assess the credibility of unorthodox speakers on controversial issues.
Paul Cranswick (Kuala Lumpur)
The President can give misinformation that if you "vaccinate" i.e. get jabbed you cannot get the virus. He can say that this is a virus of the unvaccinated - tell that to the family of friends I have lost to COVID despite being double and sometimes triple jabbed or my own two kids recovering from the virus despite following all the rules. Rogan has opposing views on his show in order that debate be widened. The labels of misinformation is a ruse towards censorship of people you don't agree with. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have no relevance today - if they had they would have gone on his show and called him out. The Government for a while was censoring - at Fauci's prompt - anyone who questioned whether the virus came from a US funded lab leak - now it seems to be the most likely cause. Misinformation last year likely truth this one. Stop the censorship. Stop the hysterics. Nobody is dying because of Joe Rogan. The jab doesn't stop transmission it aids those who catch it. I have been triple jabbed and am glad to have its protection but know that it won't stop me from contracting the virus.
Jimi (Cincinnati)
You Go Neil!... and Joni!.... the spirit is not dead. stand up to The Man, for what you believe. We need more people to follow their heart and say "NO"! I love it. Now that you found yourself losing your mind Are you here again? Finding that what you once thought was real Is gone, and changing? w that you found yourself losing your mind Are you here again? Finding that what you once thought was real Is gone, and changing? My analyst told me That I was right out of my head The way he described it He said I'd be better dead than live I didn't listen to his jive I knew all along That he was all wrong And I knew that he thought I was crazy but I'm not Oh no
Bill (New York)
Sorry, I like some of Young's music, but he's wrong here. The big problem with Spotify and most of the BIg Tech social media platforms, is not "misinformation", it's the cancellation of free speech for anyone with dissenting views. That is fascism, and I'll gladly give up Mr. Young's music on Spotify to fight fascism.
john (Canada)
Interesting to see all the people willing to close down media Free Speech that does not fit their narrative. I wonder if these folks are the same ones that support government policy towards whistleblowers like Assange and Snowden whose leaked information has benefited citizens from all political ideologies? They exposed government illegal activity against all it's citizens and they are now fugitives for exposing that truth. Where are all the cultural elite fighting this continuing injustice ?
beth (CA NH)
I mostly listen to classical music on Spotify (though Young and Mitchell are/were? on my playlists). I want to dump Spotify so tried Apple. Maybe I gave up too soon but the classical selections I tried were very old recordings and poor quality. I don't miss shuffling CDs around and no longer own any equipment to go back to this method of music listening. Unfortunately, I will stick with spotify for now. Any classical music listeners who can make a recommendation for streaming?
Thom Vedder (gresham)
am I the only one who feels this way? I'm being "punished" because I don't listen to podcasts..... I subscribe to Spotify for music, and music only - the fact that someone has opinions that differ from mine doesn't cut into my listening time.... not all people that listen to music listen to podcasts..... why do we have to pay for other services now? I've bought way too many releases on LP, 8track, cassette, and CD - I should be able to stream them at this point.... thank you for your time....
Steve Griffith (Oakland, CA)
This sorry incident reveals, among other things, that Spotify, as well as other streaming services, is really no more about music than Amazon is about books. Even though they both made their bones on, and are known for, tunes and tomes respectively, their interest in them is as nothing more than another commodity, and is as genuine and sincere as one of Joe Rogan’s podcasts. The classic 1950’s sci-fi thriller “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” depicted a nation slowly succumbing to an at once alien and McCarthyesque brainwashing, whose ultimate “success” was measured by the transformation of human beings into the products of their respective hatched pods. Flash forward some seventy years, and Americans’ minds are similarly being programmed, numbed and infantilized—only this time by the number of misinformed and ill-informing pods being cast.
barbara (santa cruz ca)
it makes a lot of money, billions from music but pays musicians very little, probably not enough for a new band to live on. rip off
Jess (Brooklyn)
I'd rather buy songs and albums anyway.
JoeA (Cali)
I'm not on Spotify and not a fan of streaming music in general. I have my 2000 CD collection on YTM (because it is free) and I like to listen to whole CD's. But I'm curious. Does Spotify release statistics on popularity ranking of musicians? Where do Young and Collins fit into this ranking?
miriam (Astoria, Queens)
@JoeA Why ask about Judy Collins? The female artist who joined Neil Young in his protest was Joni Mitchell. Hardly an obscure name.
Kurt (Thousand Oaks, CA)
It's a good thing the sponsors of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair did not threaten to withdraw, "if the kids want to sing about free love, that's fine, but this, 'four dead in Ohio' business is a step too far."
Juliana James (Portland, Oregon)
Free speech versus spreading misinformation that causes people to die? I support the musicians getting totally off Spotify and love Neil Young and Joni Mitchell for doing it. Bandcamp is the way to go!
Jess (Brooklyn)
@Juliana James It's not really a free speech issue. No one's free speech rights are being infringed.
Hero's Journey (Santa Cruz, CA)
Or a better title for this article could read: Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have a new band called "Artists in Favor of Censorship of Ideas We Don't Like." And here's an idea, if you are an influential and popular creator, why not offer to go on Joe Rogan's podcast and defend your views in a 3+ hour long form conversation? Ryan Grim is correct, the Left is missing a real opportunity.
Jess (Brooklyn)
@Hero's Journey They aren't censoring anybody. They simply don't want to support a company that helps spread misinformation about a deadly virus.
JoeA (Cali)
@Jess - Who says it is misinformation and WHY should I believe that source making such a claim? Specific cites please.
Jess (Brooklyn)
@JoeA Hydroxychloroquine has not been proven to be an effective treatment against Covid. My source for this is the FDA.
wrenhunter (Boston)
Spotify is already a terrible proposition for musicians. Bandcamp has a more equitable payment structure, offers lossless formats like FLAC, and offers streaming. Plus you actually OWN the music you’re paying for!
David Martin (Paris)
Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The under 30 crowd will see on their own who was telling the truth and who was spouting nonsense. And the next time around they will not be so easily misled.
Shel (California)
I don't know what this "...fire hose of money" associate professor George Brown is talking about is. Unless you're a top artist (and by that I mean a big-time pop artists with hundreds of millions of streams). You're probably not seeing much, if anything, from Spotify-generated revenue. Songs that stream in the low millions still yield next to nothing for artists—we're talking coffee money here. Meanwhile, Spotify can spare 100 million dollars to pay Rogan. Musicians are getting robbed by Spotify. And Daniel Ek, like fellow "hey-I-just-run-a-platform" klepto-CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is laughing and lying all the way to the bank.
T (NC)
@Shel George Howard was talking about a fire hose of money flowing to the record labels, not to the artists. He was explaining why Spotify is a necessary evil for the artists.
Rick Gage (Mt. Dora)
They should change their name, like Facebook did, to Spotifox. That way people will know, going in, how little they care about misinformation.
Suzanne (Maine)
Spotify is taking a hit, and rightfully so. I don’t understand why Fox, the biggest purveyor of deliberate misinformation and lies gets off scot free. Something is wrong with this picture.
Dave (New Jersey)
Sadly our government and media have also been guilty of spreading misinformation. Spotify should stand up for free speech. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are incredible artists; however, they have absolutely no right to control the content on Spotify. As we have learned time and time again, yesterday’s misinformation is sometimes tomorrow’s truth. The musician’s should be much more upset about not receiving appropriate compensation for the use of their work.
Tim (New York)
Young and Mitchell aren’t trying to control Spotify content. They’re refusing to do business with Spotify, which is their right.
David (Winfield, IL)
@Dave They are not promoting censorship. They just don't want their music associated with Jo the Mo Rogan and his like- they are yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater and leading a lot of people down a hateful path.
Ayzed (Malaysia)
A larger underlying issue is that science has become so complicated and difficult to understand that today, it boils down to reputation. Am I supposed to trust this person? Just tell me if I should do A, B, or C. Don't expect me to actually figure this out for myself. It's no wonder mainstream media, for decades, has mostly been interested in only the views of Ivy League professors. It's as if they are somehow perceived as being more trustworthy than professors anywhere else. You should trust US and not THEM. Not as much, anyway.
Tom O’Leary (Los Angeles CA)
I’ve been a fan of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young since they first began performing live and recording in the late 60’s. They have both always stood for integrity. I admire their decision to withdraw their music and their life’s work from Spotify. I deleted Spotify too. Disinformation during a pandemic is deadly. I leave Joe Rogan to his rabid followers.
miriam (Astoria, Queens)
@Tom O’Leary I have Spotify bundled with Samsung Music, and while I use Samsung Music (over 4000 tracks), I don't use Spotify. Now I have another reason not to use Spotify.
Yuriasian (Bay Area)
After Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify, its stock value dropped 12% while NASDAQ rose overall. It lost over $2 billion because of the Rogan mess. Investors are livid. Big reputational hit. Also, Spotify's 30%+ share of the music streaming market (70% is divided among Apple, Tidal, Amazon, Tencent and YouTube Music) has been declining: down from 34% a year or so ago. It's not growing, which is why they threw $100 million at Joe Rogan and their podcast division. Rogan's future is predicated on a larger and more mainstream audience, which is what Spotify is banking on. If Rogan remains a niche podcaster pandering to political dead enders, his audience won't grow and Spotify loses big. No surprise Rogan is backtracking as fast as he can and promising to "clean up" his act. Neil Young and Joanie Mitchell (with net worths of $200 million and $100 million respectively) are popular music giants, with Mitchell receiving Kennedy Center Honors last year and a White House reception. They don't need Spotify.
JoeA (Cali)
@Yuriasian - Pure misinformation. Spotify has been on a downtrend since Nov 1st, when it hit ~$301. The recent closing low of ~$165 on Friday, Jan 28th appears to coincide with Young removing his music. But over the past two trading days since Jan 28th, it has gained almost $40 and is currently up $4 in after-hours trading. So much for cancel culture whining, foot stamping and predictions of doom for the company.
Yuriasian (Bay Area)
@JoeA Glib with the cliches aren't we? Cancel culture, foot-stamping, predictions of doom? Misinformation re: market performance? By your own numbers, Spotify's share price has dropped by over 50% since November (investor concern over negative subscription growth) but has gained 25%on its lower valuation over the past two days. Overall, Spotify shares have dropped 25% this year, and an additional 12% the day after Neil Young pulled out of Spotify. Today The Times and Wash Post reported that the US leads the world in Covid deaths despite having the largest stockpile of vaccines. 84% of all covid hospitalizations currently are for the unvaccinated; a half dozen states report hospitals unable to admit new patients due to Covid case overload. Either you are badly misinformed (the majority of those unvaccinated have low levels of educational attainment) or simply in denial that the unvaccinated not only risk infecting others who may have high risk factors that make Covid life threatening, but also cost taxpayers for additional healthcare payments and weigh down economic recovery. The highest percentage of those who are unvaccinated believe the vaccines are dangerous or that Covid isn't, a lie that's been asserted numerous times on Rogan's podcast. Anyone who confuses "cancel culture" with fighting a pandemic needs to check the warranty on their moral clarity.
Jess (Brooklyn)
@Yuriasian Rogan doesn't need to appeal to political diverse audience. Rush Limbaugh didn't.
Ryan (Seattle)
fwiw, I canceled my spotify premium service last week when I first heard about this.
Wordsworth from Wadsworth (New Wye, Appalachia)
I've respected Neil Young from “Cinnamon Girl” to ""My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)." Now I respect Neil Young even more. I hope others artists join him. A viral pandemic is a public health problem, not an individual one. Joe Rogan can't keep straight the music of Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones (distinctly different sounds). Given that, how does Joe Rogan have the brainpower to figure out how an obligate parasite virus reproduces and mutates? Or how an antigen interacts with T Cells and B Cells to potentiate the immune system? And why the mRNA vaccine is a big improvement over a killed or attenuated viruses cultured on eggs? Virology is an arcane discipline. Joe Rogan does not know. The guests on his program are rabble rousers and shills. The medical doctor on Rogan's program who discovered a technique for getting material past the cell membrane has an axe to grind. He feels he was not given enough credit or money, so he is denigrating the vaccines. My, my. Hey, hey.
Harmonium (Indianapolis)
@Wordsworth from Wadsworth "I've respected Neil Young from 'Cinnamon Girl' to 'My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue).'"--I agree that 1969-1979 is his strongest period, but he has done quite a bit since then worthy of respect!
I have had it (observing)
It's like George Carlin said:  But hey, reverend, there are two knobs on the radio! One of them turns the radio OFF, and the other one [slaps his head]  CHANGES THE STATION! Imagine that, reverend, you can actually change the station! It's called freedom of choice, and it's one of the principles this country was founded upon. Look it up in the library, reverend, if you have any of them left when you've finished burning all the books.
Vincent (SF Bay)
It must be nice to have enough money to enjoy this level of virtue.
Yuriasian (Bay Area)
@Vincent Must be nice to confuse conviction with cynicism. Both Young and Mitchell have net worths north of $100 million. They are both celebrated, legendary artists, with Mitchell awarded Kennedy Center Honors last year along with a White House reception hosted by the President. Neither have any need to "signal virtue". Neil Young had polio as a child, before there was a polio vaccine. He knows how critical vaccinations are to prevent disease and disability. He has raised millions of dollars to help family farms (he's a co-founder with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp of Farm Aid) and to support children with special needs and disabilities. He has absolutely no need to signal virtue to anyone, least of all the Rogan fanboys.
nb (Madison)
Bandcamp. Yeah, you have to do a little more work but it can be fun tracking down stuff you might otherwise never have heard. LOTS of unique stuff. Surprises. Reminds me of old time late night bounce-off-the-ionosphere AM where unknown DJs (the earlier definition here) who didn't sound all alike "curated" stuff that they thought might blow your mind. And though it's a bit more work, it's still easier than driving to the record store and perusing the bins. (AND, it has a model that benefits musicians.) Bandcamp.com
Karen Stidger (Cottonwood, CA)
A heart of gold is better than a pocket full of silver. I don't know about Spotify, but I do know I miss buying CDs.
JoeA (Cali)
@Karen Stidger - Plenty of used CD's available in music stores and in places like Goodwill or Salvation Army. And don't forget that most library systems have many CD's for rent.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
Here’s a thought: just don’t do spotify. I never have; I never will; and I won’t miss a thing.
Ketna (NYC)
For what it’s worth Yasiin Bey (formally Mos Def) spoke with Talib Kwali about why he isnt interested in having his music on Spotify. The conversation is on YouTube and it’s worth hearing his take. Not to oversimplify his point but essentially as the creator of content he feels his contribution should earn him the bulk of the profit because an artist creative output is the real commodity not the means by which it is delivered. As things stand Spotify makes disproportionately more then the artist on their service do.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Ketna "Not to oversimplify his point but essentially as the creator of content he feels his contribution should earn him the bulk of the profit because an artist creative output is the real commodity not the means by which it is delivered" He's free to pull his music and try marketing/streaming it himself, if he thinks he'll make more money that way. Of course, if he can't make more money doing it himself, then tough luck.
Ketna (NYC)
That’s what I’m saying and that’s exactly what he’s chosen to do. He is in a good place carrier wise and does not make his music available on a platform that is explorative. Sorry if I wasn’t clear :)
Molly Karoo (Virginia)
Time to start buying CDs (and vinyl) again if you care about the future of music and want to support your favorite artists. Cut the cord with Spotify, Pandora and the other streamers. Given the poor sound quality of these services, your ears will thank you.
Tim (New York)
Apple Music provides two options of “lossless” high-fidelity streaming as part of the basic subscription.
Paul (Dallas)
Mr. Young is certainly entitled to his opinions, but enough with the boycotts and Twitter mobs. If you don't like the podcasts, fine, don't listen to them. And I'll do the same with your music.
MsAOD (Sfo)
@Paul I listen to plenty of podcasts on Spotify that has lots of accurate, up to date Covid information with many credible voices. It’s not like this isn’t out there and I feel Ike we’re being dictated to. Why not amplify their voices?
Susan (New York)
Spotify will never recover from losing aging rock stars like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell who have morphed from fighting The Man to representing him.
luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
@Susan Instead of referring to them as aging, it would have been more accurate to refer to them as over the hill. Their best music was done about a half century ago, when most Spotify listeners had not yet been born. It would be interesting to know how many of the people claiming to be cancelling their spotify accounts are boomers vs millennials.
Henri (Somewhere Over The Rainbow)
@luxembourg GenXer here. Cancelled my subscription in solidarity with Mr. Young. While I love the access to music Spotify enables, I will listen with ads if it means not supporting the likes of Joe Rogan.
Hlk (Long Island)
@luxembourg Age is not the issue,it is what these guys stand for,enough brainwashing!
J. Cornelio (Washington, Conn.)
When mainstream's Covid dogma --- like the efficacy of cloth masks, the need to jab kids, the claim the vaccines would provide sterilizing immunity and "defeat" the virus, the wisdom of multiple boosters, the origins of the virus, the failure to promote even noncontroversial therapeutics like Vitamin D (and how about simply diet and exercise!), the robustness of the VAERS system to track adverse vaccine events, etc. --- have been questioned by otherwise pro-vaccine scientists and medical types such as Dr. John Campbell, Dr. Vinay Prassad and even ZDogg for cripes sakes, then methinks it would be wise for singers and songwriters and other artsy types to keep their head down and out of the debate for which they have less than no qualifications.
jerryny (NYC)
@J. Cornelio Maybe ignorant podcasters like Rogan should keep his head down and not spread lies and misinformation that kills people as hospital emergency rooms and critial care beds fill up with the unvaccinated.
Rick Gage (Mt. Dora)
@J. Cornelio, you forgot to mention, in your parade of horribles, that thirty percent of the country refused to participate in containing the virus for political reasons. Fix that, you can fix all the others and maybe fix America as well.
Clarence Beeks (ATL)
i don’t see where mr. young stuck his head in the debate, as you claim, so much as he made a decision (as was his right) based on his understanding of the facts. same as how in your comment you’re making implications based on the facts as you understand them.
luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
Many older artists have been in the news recently for selling their music catalogs. Usually, but not always, that means that they lose the right to determine when and where their music is heard unless such rights were in the sales contract. So, does Bob Dylan have any such rights or not? Probably not. The artist usually wants to simply cash out, and restrictions lower the value of the music. If you look at the most popular artists streamed on Spotify in 2021, as well as their most popular podcasts, you see that Rogan is ranked #1 both in the US and globally. Young does not show up in the list of most popular artists. Neither does Joni Mitchell.
Lee Rentz (Stanwood, MI)
@luxembourg Rogan will never be remembered a hundred years from now, while Young and Mitchell will be considered classic. I stand with the old rebels.
JoeA (Cali)
@Lee Rentz - Yes but like Barry Bonds, with qualified stars next to their names as former members of the establishment protest movement who, as they joined the establishment after making millions of dollars, allowed themselves to get corrupted by the same establishment into believing information as truth when it was actually misinformation!
Steven Thackston (Atlanta)
With free speech comes responsibility. Mr. Rogan profits from peddling life-threatening disinformation. It's no different than if he and his guests were suggesting that seat-belt laws and the research behind them were flawed. Why should healthy teenagers wear seat-belts? Has the vaccine disinformation peddled on his program has led to the untimely demise of some of his listeners? Of course, I can't say. But even one is too many, right? Neil Young remains a blessing.
Livonian (Los Angeles)
@Steven Thackston It couldn't just be that Joe Rogan is a decent human being who got out ahead of his skis on Covid? He has to be charged with "disinformation," i.e., intentionally lying or propagandizing? Neil Young would be a "blessing" if he reminded us of how hippies got through disputes in the good old days: "Hey, Joe. You're a cool dude. You're willing to think out loud, have fun, and your show is really far out. But you seem to have gotten ahold of some bad Covid data, and that could harm people, and your karma. Why don't you double-check that, or put on counter-guests, or put up some disclaimer to check with your doctor when you talk about this stuff, man?" How respectful, cooperative and personal that would be! Instead it's "boycott!" "Disinformation!" Excommunication! How righteous, punitive and vicious our society has become.
LeGEE (Savannah, GA)
@Livonian The guy was peddling disinformation during a pandemic. Sorry. That is not cool. That is not simply getting out over his skiis. That is peddling lies for profit.
stumpnugget (iowa)
I worry about how politicizing streaming will affect fans. I don't want to have to subscribe to a liberal streaming service and a conservative streaming service in order to hear all the bands I like. I want everything in one place. I use Apple so this doesn't affect me this time around, but it seems like it's only a matter of time before someone protests Apple Music because of some business practice or because of something an executive says. This kind of thing didn't happen when we owned music. A boycott wouldn't affect me because the vinyl was safely stored in my bedroom! Now I have to worry about the behavior of the company that controls my music library! As a fan, that makes me worry about this whole streaming model.
A.B. (SoCal)
Keep on buying! Services like band camp allow you to preview an entire track before purchase.
Jomo (San Diego)
@stumpnugget: Note that Young wasn't reacting to conservative content in general, but specifically covid misinformation, which is killing people right this minute. Tech platforms have been disturbingly irresponsible on that subject and Young is right to spotlight that.
JoeA (Cali)
@Jomo - When you don't have the smarts to understand something, what you hear appears to be misinformed. Or to refer to an old quote: "It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them." -- Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-1799)
Abby Dart (Ann Arbor)
And then there was the time when my son's band Vulfpeck, back in 2014, created "Sleepify" to demonstrate to the world that Spotify pays bands about .07 cents per play. Of course that's when Vulfpeck was a little known band and nothing compared to their success now, having sold out Madison Square Garden in September of 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jul/25/vulpeck-the-band-who-made-20000-from-their-silent-spotify-album
c (Pennsyltucky)
@Abby Dart it's even lower now at about 0.04 cents a play on Spotify.
Tim (Illinois)
It is important to recognize the ownership structure of Spotify. The major labels are all significant shareholders in Spotify, so do not expect the labels to take action that damages Spotify. Since as the article points out the labels typically own the streaming rights so the number of artists that will leave Spotify is likely to be small.
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