Not young enough

Neil Young won’t put music on streaming services to avoid bad quality sound.

July 20, 2015
Young, 69, was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1960s and 1970s. PHOTO: FILE

LOS ANGELES: Singer-songwriter and musician Neil Young said on Wednesday he won’t allow his music to be streamed any more, not because of disputes over royalties, but rather over poor 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,” the Canadian rocker said in a post on his Facebook page.”I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It’s bad for my music.”

Young, 69, was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1960s and 1970s with bands like Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and a successful solo career that has included albums like Harvest and Rust Never Sleeps.

He has long complained about digital audio and, as a result, has developed Pono, a portable player that aims to lend a higher quality than streaming or MP3.

Young said his decision is “not because of the money, although my share (like all other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent.”

His criticism is a new blow to streaming services like Spotify, the target of criticism from artists who complain of meager payments for their work.

Most notably, top-selling pop star Taylor Swift withdrew her catalogue from Spotify last November, saying the business had shrunk the number of paid album sales drastically. Last month, Swift agreed to put her latest hit album 1989 on Apple Music, days after Apple Inc did an about-face, agreeing to pay artists during a free trial of its new streaming music service.

Young also left the door open to returning to streaming.

“When the quality is back, I’ll give it another look. Never say never,” he said. REUTERS

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st,  2015.

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