David Crosby Is Selling His Publishing Rights Because He Can’t Tour and ‘Streaming Stole My Record Money’

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Following high-profile catalog sales from Stevie Nicks and Bob Dylan, The Byrds cofounder David Crosby has revealed that he intends to cash out of his own publishing rights because he’s unable to tour amid the pandemic “and streaming stole my record money.”

David Crosby recently unveiled the plans to sell his catalog – and explained the reasons behind the decision – on social media. The 79-year-old Crosby, Stills & Nash cofounder, who is the same age as Bob Dylan, broached the subject when responding to a fan, before elaborating upon this initial message.

“I am selling mine also … I can’t work … and streaming stole my record money,” the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Crosby stated. “I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it’s my only option … I’m sure the others [who have sold their catalogs] feel the same.”

Crosby, who’s released seven albums as a solo artist and contributed to Crosby, Stills & Nash hits such as “Wooden Ships,” then replied to an individual who voiced concern with the sale from a fan’s perspective.

“If we could get paid for records and play Live,” responded David Crosby, “we would not be doing it [.] None of us.

“Streaming does not pay us for records an[d] COVID has shut down all work live ….is that clear enough for you?” Crosby subsequently penned.

A different supporter noted Bob Dylan’s highly active recording and touring schedule and asked whether Crosby would ever cease creating. Besides his and Dylan’s shared age, career length, and interest in selling their catalogs, The Byrds opened their 1965 debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, with a highly successful rendition of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” – one of four Bob Dylan covers on the 12-track effort.

Crosby responded: “Writing still … recording too but seems like I’ve been forcibly retired,” presumably due to the coronavirus crisis as well as the associated health concerns and concert restrictions.

Finally, the Grammy winner (and 10-time nominee) shed light upon the specifics of his financial situation, including by relaying that he’s not “worth millions” and declining to name his asking price for the publishing rights. One Twitter user reiterated that Celebrity Net Worth has valued Crosby at $5 million – a figure that the artist says is “exaggerated” and “also includes the stuff I’m selling.”

In our latest analysis of actual artist royalty statements, we estimated that Spotify pays between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream.  That’s not much — even for highly-streamed artists like Crosby.

Last week, a British lawmaker said that multiple artists are hesitant to participate in the government’s ongoing streaming-royalties investigation “because they fear action may be taken against them” if they do so.

11 Responses

  1. Roger Scott Craig

    TEN years ago I suggested all the artists COME TOGETHER and build their own Platform with DIRECT and VARIABLE sales to the music fans. I got considerable support from many of my friends in the BEATLES camp plus support from the AFM, the largest Union for musicians in the world. ELIMINATE ALL THESE MIDDLE MEN who continue to rip us off and get almost 90% of our revenues. And then what happened?? I asked the musicians to help and they were all too busy making new albums or didn’t want to help me build the Platform. And now ten years later they are all complaining or are broke! MTunz (Musicians selling their Tunz directly to their fans) could have been a success but then the musicians need to DO SOMETHING in order to fix their damaged industry. All these Tech companies are interested in is MAKING MONEY for themselves and they could care less about the poor musicians or the quality of music. And so TWENTY YEARS after Napster the majority of Pro musicians are getting out of the music business and you wonder why??

    • Katia Gafarova

      Well, Tidal is an artist-owned platform, and look how it’s doing now. These “middle-men” can’t create music, but musicians can’t replace people with business degrees and connections either. We need to find a middle ground.

      • Jake Winters

        Love David Crosby and a smart move. He will do well from this sale.
        And I would pay big money to see just him and Stephen Stills talk and play and tell stories once the gradual sunrise happens in 2021.

  2. T

    You suck anyway and for what you said about eddie hopefully karma will be there so you cant even sell ice cubes in hell

  3. Rob camron

    Sorry Dave, not feeling sorry for your predicament. Many , many people are suffering during this time. You complain about needing $$ to pay your mortgage and support your lifestyle. Gove gone through more $$ than most people could ever imagine having. Stop your constant whining. In my part of the country your known as a ” cry arse”. Get over it and be thankful for what you have/had.