Neil Young Pulls Music From Streaming Services, is Painfully Out of Touch

Grandpa Neil is trying to force us to buy his musical Toblerone player to hear his music. No thanks... but hey Neil, ever heard of YouTube?

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

High-quality digital music advocate Neil Young is removing his music from streaming services, and loudly. The rocker took to Facebook and Twitter today to announce that he’s removing his music from all streaming services.

“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,” said Young on Facebook. Basically, the nucleus of the high fidelity Pono media player and digital music service is demanding that we all become super high-end audiophiles or GTFO.

No thanks.

Unlike Taylor Swift, Bjork, Thom Yorke and Mork from Ork, Young claims his motivation for abandoning the medium isn’t a protest of royalty payouts for musicians. Instead, Young claims it’s poor sound quality that made him give up the streaming ghost.

His announcement:

Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is ok for my fans.

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.

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.

When the quality is back, I’ll give it another look. Never say never.

Neil Young

The above photo accompanied his post on Facebook – but what’s fascinating is that Young’s entire catalogue can be easily streamed in the shittiest quality imaginable on YouTube – and it’s not going away.

In other words, nobody gives a shit about top-level streaming quality except anal-retentive audiophiles. Spotify’s premium tier offers 320 kbps streaming, which is as clean and strong as anyone needs. The true benefit of streaming isn’t top quality, or piracy killing, or a big-ass toblerone ipod to play it on – the benefit is convenience. The ability to take our sounds anywhere, access them anywhere, and not give it another thought. 

So now, instead of rallying to the old principled stalwart, we’ll give up on everyday access to Neil’s music (unless we need to dig up that YouTube clip of “Rockin’ In The Free World”) and he’ll fade from the current soundscape even faster than originally predicted.

It’s a sad thing, but this ham-handed play to force people onto Pono is badly misguided.

A fitting soundtrack:

Jesus, no. Hold on. I forgot how bad that song was. Pearl Jam does it much better: