If you have Neil Young on your Spotify playlist, it’s probably going to vanish. The singer announced Wednesday he was pulling his entire catalog off music streaming services. Why? Young is fed up with the sound quality the services offer.
“It’s about sound quality. I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It’s bad for my music.”
Taking to Facebook, Neil Young also spoke of his growing issue with how the streaming services compensate artists. “It’s not because of the money, although my share (like all the other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent.”
One of those it’s not about the money, but now that you mention it, that pisses him off too. But above all, Young hates the sound quality of streaming offers. How badly does he hate the audio quality? He likens the quality as worse than a cassette or AM radio.
“AM radio kicked streaming’s ass. Analog cassettes and 8 tracks also kicked streaming’s ass, and absolutely rocked compared to streaming,” Young wrote. “Streaming sucks. Streaming is the worst audio in history. If you want it, you got it. It’s here to stay. Your choice.”
Tell us how you really feel Neil. And, the would be Neil Young pirates out there? He doesn’t care if fans ‘copy’ his music, as long as it has the sound quality he intended.
“All my music, my life’s work, is what I am preserving the way I want it to be. It’s already started. My music is being removed from all streaming services. It’s not good enough to sell or rent.”
Right now, we don’t know which services he’s pulling his music from. Judging by his statement, all of them, but there’s been radio silence from Spotify, Apple and Tidal.
Wednesday isn’t the first salvo from Young on streaming audio. He led the charge behind Pono, a portable music player that offers digital recordings in high-quality formats streaming services have not matched.
Jay-Z’s Tidal does offer higher quality audio than services like Spotify, but charges double what Spotify and Apple Music cost for access. Spotify does offer 320 kbps streaming for premium subscribers, but it’s nowhere near the FLAC-level Pono offers.
Will Neil Young return to music streaming in the future? He kept the door cracked for an eventual return.
“For me, It’s about making and distributing music people can really hear and feel. I stand for that,” he wrote on Facebook. “When the quality is back, I’ll give it another look. Never say never.”
Now all we need is higher quality audio on music streaming. Young isn’t wrong in his criticisms. You do not have to be an audiophile to notice the difference.
What do you think? Is Young being overly dramatic in pulling his music, or do you think more artists should do that same until the quality catches up with the technology?