Streaming music lovers who are fans of songwriter and guitarist Neil Young better hope they can still dig out their old Neil Young CDs and vinyl albums now that the legendary musician is pulling his music back from streaming media Websites due to what he says is poor audio quality.
In a somber personal post on Facebook on July 15, Young wrote, “Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is OK for my fans.”
Young wrote that he’s taking the step because he’s annoyed by what he calls the terrible audio quality of streaming sites, which use music files that don’t contain all of the musical details and information that is in his original recordings
“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,” wrote Young. “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.”
By pulling his music from streaming sites, fans will avoid having to listen to it without the rich details of those original recordings, he wrote. “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’s fans on Facebook quickly reacted to his decision and their reactions were a mix of support and disdain for his move.
“No, not OK with me,” wrote Chad Heile. “I don’t listen to steaming for good quality. I use it because of convenience. If I’m at work or driving, I don’t have access to high quality vinyl or even a good speaker system. I own plenty of your LPs (probably 30) and listen to them all the time, but now you’re taking away a way for me, a fan, to hear you. I will not pay $60 for your newer LPs, which is the price you charge, so I guess I won’t listen to your new music anymore. Too bad, I’m a huge fan.”
Another fan, Jacob Tarring, wrote that Young’s move is sad. “I am a massive Neil Young fan, I own most of his CDs and I pay for a Spotify premium service, which I predominantly listen to on the go, so for me this is a step backwards really for the music industry, especially if some of my other favorite artists follow suit.”
Fan Gregory Robert Chambers wrote that Young is hurting fans and himself by pulling his music. “You are just limiting your fans’ access to your music,” he wrote. “Shame on you.”
Peter Gerstenzang wrote, “If this was a major dilemma, every audiophile in music would be as up in arms as you. No one else cares and no one else can REALLY hear the difference.”
Supporters were just as fervent.
“I was just having a conversation with someone yesterday about how I still like to purchase CDs instead of streaming the stuff I really like,” wrote Brad Aslett. “Things like Spotify are cool for discovering music, but the audio files are so compressed that it loses its dynamics and fidelity. Good for you Neil Young!”
Fan Marc Osborne wrote, “Well folks I agree with Neil Young. He does say he’ll review when sound quality gets better. Neil Young is encouraging streaming of music in full bandwidth which I applaud. Meanwhile I’ll still get my music on shiny little discs or big black ones.”
Holly Johnson agreed. “Neil Young, I have loved your music, still do, since I was a kid in the 70s, and you have always done things your way,” she wrote. “Luckily, I own LOTS of vinyl and CDs so I’m still able to saturate myself with you! YOU are marvelous and standing up for what you know and love is exactly why we love you!”
Another fan, Ryan Cummings, wrote, “It’s artists like you that will help bring out the best in music! We’re suffering from serious lack of quality these days. Thank you Neil Young!”
After his original Facebook post, Young added an additional post, this time explaining himself further.
“Streaming sucks,” he added. “Streaming is the worst audio in history. If you want it, you got it. It’s here to stay. Your choice.”
Meanwhile, “All my music, my life’s work, is what I am preserving the way I want it to be,” he wrote. “It’s already started. My music is being removed from all streaming services. It’s not good enough to sell or rent. Make streaming sound good and I will be back.”
Fan Scott Smith criticized Young’s second post, writing: “Kids don’t care about sound quality. They’re listening to music on ear buds, computer speakers and phones. All you’re doing is making sure your music is not heard by younger generations. Not something to be proud of.”