David Crosby on Spotify — “They’re Making Billions and They’re Paying Out Pennies”

David Crosby Spotify comments
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David Crosby Spotify comments
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Photo Credit: FDSFDS / CC by 4.0

David Crosby has spoken at length about the state of the music industry & the Spotify controversy.

Spotify reportedly paid $200 million to get the Joe Rogan Experience as an exclusive podcast. But as the COVID-19 pandemic took over, Rogan’s insistence on hearing ‘both sides’ of any argument took a turn. 270 medical professionals wrote an open letter to Spotify begging for content advisories to be put in place on their podcast episodes.

Spotify seemingly ignored this open letter until Neil Young announced he was pulling his music from the platform. David Crosby joined him in pulling his music, as did the other bandmates in Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Stereogum recently reached out to David Crosby to talk about his reasons for removing his music and taking a stand against poor pay.

It took a while for David Crosby’s solo music to be removed from Spotify. That’s because Irving Azoff owns Crosby’s publishing rights. Crosby says he was expecting some resistance there, but got none. “If that’s what you feel you have to do, we’ll go along with it,” Crosby says Iconic and BMG told him. “I was stunned. That is not normal corporate behavior. Normally they go for the dollar and the quickest possible answer. They don’t support a moral stand.”

Crosby continues, saying he doesn’t like any of the streaming music services, it’s not just Spotify. “They don’t pay us properly. Their proportion is wrong. They’re making billions with a b and they’re paying out pennies with a p. That’s not OK. It’s not OK in that it took away half my income, and it’s not OK in that, especially, it makes it impossibly difficult for young people to make it in the business.”

Crosby is very vocal about his dislike for Spotify and most streaming services, much like Neil Young. “I’m not willing to lick their boots because I need their pitiful $1.57 they’re paying me. They’re not doing the right thing and in the long run it will get them. In some kind of karmic thing, it’s going to come around and crush them.”

Crosby’s thoughts on Joe Rogan are somewhat neutral. He admits Joe Rogan has a “right to spew his garbage.” “I think Spotify has a right to put him up there. I absolutely will fight for their right to do that. I have a right to not be associated with it.” Crosby says he told a friend that if he was selling his music in a marketplace, he wouldn’t choose to set up shop next to spoiled meat.

He also says he believes that younger artists aren’t in a position to speak out, as some have asked. “They have no ability at all. They have nowhere to go. They have Bandcamp. Some things like that are pretty good for them.” It’s an interesting conversation with one of music’s greats. Be sure to check out the rest of the interview with David Crosby. He speaks directly about the impact music streaming and the pandemic has had on his life.

The pandemic directly influenced him to sell his publishing rights, since he could no longer tour live to support himself. “I didn’t want to sell my publishing, man. I didn’t want to sell a goddamn thing. I didn’t have any goddamn choice,” Crosby admits.

12 Responses

  1. Dean Hajas

    Interestingly. Digital music News continues to vilify Spotify, yet Paul knows that the streaming rates are determined by the CRB based on fair use.
    It’s like you just want to destroy Spotify for some reason while protecting the Government. Maybe you’re not bright enough to correlate the CRB to streaming rates.. maybe you prefer to be parrots instead of actually doing investigative journalism. It’s ok DMN what should we expect from you .. truth. Lol

    • Phuck Eck

      Clown response. Streaming rates have nothing to do with ANYTHING set by the government. Give me a fricking break. Spotify is the classic pauper when it comes to paying musicians not affiliated with its major shareholders who own more than 50% of the take anyway. Meanwhile, Eck throws $200 million at a bald aging asshole who isn’t that smart and invests in military hardware. Who the F does Eck think he is? The travesty is music industry attorneys and agents didn’t have the balls to set up the proper kind of streaming service that would be a set profit rate and totally transparent AND charged users the proper rate. You don’t like it, then get your music elsewhere.

      F you for defending a monstrous POS corporation and its entirelly rotten disgusting CEO.

      • Dean Hajas

        How’s your anger getting you in your response…? Dead end every time. If you own a business you don’t pay the maximum amount to creators, like Britain did for 100’s of years to citizens who made everything for lazy Brits right. You pay what you legally are allowed to, that’s why it’s called “Minimum Wage”. You just can’t get over the fact that like so many creators, instead of raising your voices to the CRB, the Senate, and Government in general, you felt it was better to remain complacent, playing video games, while smoking weed. I get it, it’s much easier to blame the distributor, then to blame those who set the rates. It’s all about truth, you see Einstein, Streaming rates were attacked in 2003, the Gov, CRB, and the PRO’s went to bed together, and redefined the legal term “Streaming”. They got rid of Broadcast and Transmission thereby leaving Streaming to be a sale. The sale rate based on fair use is $……nothing per play, and no longer employs the performance base Royalties we used to get back when ABCKO was setting rates between $.05 and $.13 per play. But you obviously have done a ton of research on your angry man with a poster on a stick response, so best of luck returning to the couch to watch re-runs of Batman. Next time you pipe up, know what you’re talking about…

    • JR Murphy

      You got a lot wrong in your comment. A lot. Instead of spouting off emotionally, try doing some research and commenting with intelligence.

  2. Idiot Detector

    Crosby should consider fathering more Hollywood children who grow up so f&8ked up they overdose and die.

    • Keelick

      Another clown from generation lick more boots while they get famous for one minute programming a drum machine and muttering over it.

      • Geronimo

        Coming from someone who has no talent and has had no success in music. Yeah, your opinion really matters.

    • Sambo

      It’s a shame that didn’t happen to you…the overdose and die part.

  3. Anonymous

    The failure for all independents to have any real success, comes down to the Big Three Labels that control 80% directly and more through parent companies, lawsuits, leverage on streaming, radio, concerts, music media, no one here has a chance.