Neil Young Announces Plans to Pull His Music From Streaming Services


Neil Young has announced plans to pull his music from streaming services, including the recently launched Apple Music and Spotify.

“Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is OK for my fans,” Young announced in a post on Facebook Wednesday morning.

However, a quick check of Apple Music and Spotify revealed that Young’s catalog is still available on the services as of this writing, with titles ranging from his recently released album The Monsanto Years to his 1972 classic Harvest.

Other artists have complained about streaming services, including Taylor Swift, who pulled her catalog from Spotify and beefed with Apple Music, prior to the services launch, complaining about artists not getting paid for streams during the service’s three-month free trial period.

Apple quickly changed its tune and Swift allowed the service to include her music. However, other high-profile artists, including the Beatles and Prince are almost completely absent from the streaming universe.

Young’s label, Warner Bros. Records, didn’t have any additional information on the move or when his music would be pulled from streaming services; and a call and email to Young’s manager, Elliot Roberts of Lookout Management, wasn’t immediately returned.

“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,” Young’s message continued. “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.

“For me, It’s about making and distributing music people can really hear and feel. I stand for that.”

The complaint about sound quality isn’t surprising if you’ve been following Young. Earlier this year, he launched Pono music, a high-quality portable audio player. In the past, he’s also complained about the poor sound quality of MP3s and CDs.

In spite of such complaints, last year he recorded a lo-fi covers album, A Letter Home, at Jack White’s Third Man Records on White’s restored 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording both. That album was later released on vinyl and CD. As of this writing, it’s still up on Apple Music and Spotify, and Young’s right – it doesn’t sound very good, but we’re guessing that has more to do with the recording, rather than the streaming services.

Fans had a mixed reaction to Young’s announcement on Facebook. “Thats funny you say that….I was just having a conversation with someone yesterday about how I still like to purchase CDs instead of streaming the stuff I really like. Things like Spotify are cool for discovering music, but the audio files are so compressed that it loses its dynamics and fidelity. Good for you Neil Young!,” wrote Brad Aslett.

But Gregory Robert Chambers had a counter view. “You mean as bad as AM radio? ( whose quality sucked worst than MP3) You know, like how I and many others first heard Neil Young. You are just limiting your fans access to your music..shame on you.”

Despite the fact he’s pulling back for now, Young hasn’t totally written off streaming. “When the quality is back, I’ll give it another look,” he wrote. “Never say never.”

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