Neil Young vs. Spotify via News from the Front (NFTF). Veteran rocker Neil Young recently took on the streaming platform Spotify over its airing of “misinformation” regarding Covid 19 vaccinations.
The alleged source of the misinformation is a shock jock by the name of Joe Rogan. Young had given Spotify an ultimatum that they had to chose between Young or Rogan, but that they could not have both.
Ultimately, Spotify chose to keep Rogan over Young on their streaming platform and issued a parting statement:
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but we hope to welcome him back soon.”
In addition, they have removed Young’s music from their platform.
It all seems cut and dry, but is it? There are those that are turning it into a free speech issue and calling it an attempt at censorship due to an intolerance for a difference of opinion. True enough, but also Spotify paid a bundle to have Rogan’s opinions on their platform. NFTF believes this was more of a fiscal decision than it was a stand for Free Speech.
How many times did Frank Zappa defend our right to free speech? It’s in our constitution and is guaranteed by the first amendment. So what was Young thinking exactly? Did he consider what his proposal would sound like…censorship? Probably not. Thus far, Darwin’s theory has proven correct and many of these purveyors of “misinformation” have succumbed to the ravages of the harsh reality of Covid-19. They’ve even been labeled Covididiots.
NFTF hasn’t spoken to Young so it is hard to say where he was really trying to go or what his intentions really were. It is hard to fathom that censorship was his goal.
Who remembers Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”? The subject of that ditty was a riot on the Sunset Strip in November 1966 that was in protest of the non-stop and relentless arrest of teens for curfew. NFTF was one of those hapless teenagers that got caught in that curfew round-up. NFTF had been to the Whiskey A Go Go to interview the Grass Roots for a publication and when we were finished headed on down The Strip for some fun. Stopped by a panel truck with suggestive feet placements on it, the occupants stopped my friend and I to chat us up and bam…busted.
Young was in the Buffalo Springfield at the time and NFTF wonders how he would have reacted if his record company had said “you can’t record and release that song as it’s defending the breaking of the law?” Young would have yelled CENSORSHIP.
We cannot go around censoring just because we do not agree with what is being said. Yes, there is a clause that in essence says that one may not yell fire in a crowded theater just because and call it free speech and rightfully so.
So how does one get “even” for this stance?
NFTF has never subscribed to the Spotify platform as we have always felt that they rip off artists by taking 75% of the profits and leaving the creatives with micro-penny and breakage clauses that pay royalties of $1.37 a month for a million streams. We wrote a column about it for the nohoartsdistrict.com in April 2016 with a title of “There was a time that getting airplay meant that you were making it” which is the opening line to the column. In it we touch base on what is happening with the music industry and streaming platforms. When it comes to the Spotify issue the answer is simple…go back to the legislative drawing board and stick it to them.
The LA Music Scene column mentioned is back up on Twitter under @musicmaven9 and LinkedIn as Caroline McElroy and did very well when it was first published. It generated lots of industry chit chat and garnered over 9,000 hits while nohoartsdistrict.com was still counting those things.
Don’t get mad, get even.