May 18, 2022

Neil Young vs. Spotify – NoHo Arts District

Photo from freestocks.org

Neil Young versus Spotify via News from the Front (NFTF). Veteran rocker Neil Young recently took on streaming platform Spotify for spreading “misinformation” about Covid 19 vaccinations.

The alleged source of the misinformation is a shock athlete named Joe Rogan. Young had given Spotify an ultimatum that they had to choose either Young or Rogan, but they couldn’t have both.

In the end, Spotify opted to keep Rogan over Young on its streaming platform and issued a farewell statement:

“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to see him again soon.”

Additionally, they removed Young’s music from their platform.

Everything seems cut and dry, but is it? There are those who make it a free speech issue and call it an attempt at censorship due to an intolerance of a difference of opinion. That’s true, but Spotify also paid a flat fee to have Rogan’s opinions on their platform. NFTF believes this was more of a tax ruling than a free speech stance.

How many times has Frank Zappa defended our right to free speech? It’s in our constitution and it’s guaranteed by the first amendment. So what exactly was Young thinking? Did he think about what his proposal would look like… censorship? Probably not. So 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 have even been labeled Covididiots.

NFTF hasn’t spoken to Young, so it’s hard to tell where he was really trying to go or what his intentions really were. It is difficult to understand that censorship was his goal.

Who remembers Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”? The subject of this song was a riot on the Sunset Strip in November 1966 protesting the relentless and relentless arrest of teenagers for curfew. NFTF was one of those unfortunate teenagers who got caught up in this curfew roundup. NFTF had gone to the Whiskey A Go Go to interview the Grass Roots for a post and when we were done we headed to the strip for some fun. Stopped by a truck with signs with suggestive foot placements on it, the occupants stopped my friend and I to talk to each other and bam… burst.

Young was in 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 this song because it advocates breaking the law?” Young allegedly shouted CENSURE.

We cannot censor just because we disagree with what is being said. Yeah, there’s a clause that basically says you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater just because and call it free speech and rightly so.

So how do you become “same” for this position?

NFTF never subscribed to the Spotify platform because we always felt they ripped artists off by taking 75% of the profits and leaving creatives with micro-penny and break clauses that pay out royalties $1.37 per month for one million streams. We wrote a column about this for the nohoartsdistrict.com in April 2016 with a title of “There was a time when broadcasting meant you did” which is the opening line of the column. We discuss what is happening with the music industry and streaming platforms. As for the Spotify problem, the answer is simple… go back to the legislative drawing board and paste it.

The mentioned LA Music Scene column is back on Twitter under @musicmaven9 and LinkedIn as Caroline McElroy and did very well when first published. It generated a lot of industry chatter and garnered over 9,000 hits while nohoartsdistrict.com was still counting those things.

Don’t get angry, take revenge.