Neil Young on Spotify: “We’re out of there, get me off”

Neil Young’s boycott of Spotify is still in place, and he sat down recently with Howard Stern, to share his thoughts on it.

On January 24th 2022, Neil Young publicly announced his intention to pull his music off the streaming service Spotify to protest what he considers was a proliferation of COVID-19 misinformation, by one show, in particular, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Young shares, that Covid was distressing, and cited conspiracy theories and dubious treatment methods that were getting airtime on Spotify at the time.

neil young

I woke up one morning and I heard somebody saying there was some scientists saying something about COVID, or some doctors and they were saying something about COVID and how many people were dying in hospitals and misinformation. And I listened to it and they were saying he purposely is saying this stuff that he knows isn’t true about COVID and people were dying. I just called up my management and said, “We’re out of there. Get me off.” And we’ll be fine, and it was a little shocking because they know all the [streaming] numbers. Who cares? You know, who cares? What’s his name? [Spotify CEO] Daniel Ek? He cares about money.”

Young has also gone on to share that he wasn’t pleased about the audio quality on Spotify, which does not offer hi-res audio options.  

“The way I look at it, that just turned me off and I made an instant decision — I didn’t think about it at all — just take my music off, we don’t need it. We’ve got all these other places. And it sounds better at the other places. Why would I want to keep it on Spotify when it sounds like a pixilated movie?”

Young feels that his decision to leave Spotify is resolved, for him it’s about less, not more. In 2021, Young sold 50% of the rights to his entire back catalogue, 1,180 songs to be exact, for an estimated $150 million. 

“I wanted to sell my songs because I don’t have to worry about a fucking thing now. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I’ve got the end of my life to go out doing exactly what it is I want to do and not doing what I don’t want to do. Unless it hurts somebody that I love, then I really have to think about it, but when it comes to expressing who you are and what you can do, if you’re constricted by money and a lot of people are relying on you, you don’t have to do that. You spend 75 years getting to the spot. You don’t have to pay for what you did. You just sell what you want and you use the money to be able to go forward living life the way you want to live it and to make the examples. That’s the way I feel about it. I don’t have to go on a tour if I don’t want to go on a tour.” (Via Zane Lowe Apple)