Neil Young is removing his entire back catalogue from all music streaming services, citing poor audio quality as the reason behind the move.
Posting on Facebook, the singer-songwriter wrote that his problem wasn’t with the compensation paid out by services like Spotify (an issue that has caused artists like Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke to pull their music in the past), but rather how his songs sound when they’re streamed online. “Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is ok for my fans,” said Young.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
The 69-year-old hasn’t ruled out the possibility of his work reappearing online at some point in the future though. “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.”
Young didn’t mention any services by name, so presumably Tidal hasn’t been omitted from the cull, despite the Jay Z-owned company making high-quality audio part of its ethos. Spotify, meanwhile, streams better quality music to premier customers than it does via its free offering. No service-to-service differences have been referenced by Young though, who seems determined to enforce a blanket ban.
The After The Gold Rush singer is a long-time advocate of quality digital music, having developed the PonoPlayer, a high-fidelity MP3 player, and PonoMusic, a music download site that’s used in tandem with the device.