No streaming for Neil Young's music

LOS ANGELES • • Singer-songwriter Neil Young said on Wednesday he would not allow his music to be streamed anymore, not because of disputes over royalties, but over poor 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," the Canadian rocker said in a post on his Facebook page. "I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music."

Young, 69, was one of the biggest rock stars of the 1960s and 1970s with bands such as Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and a successful solo career that has included albums such as Harvest and Rust Never Sleeps.

He has long complained about digital audio and, as a result, has developed Pono, a portable player that aims to lend a higher quality than streaming or MP3.

Young said his decision is "not because of the money, although my share (like all other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent".

His criticism is a new blow to streaming services such as Spotify, the target of criticism from artists who complain of meagre payments for their work. Most notably, top-selling pop star Taylor Swift withdrew her catalogue from Spotify last November, saying the business had shrunk the number of paid album sales drastically.

Last month, Swift agreed to put her latest hit album 1989 on Apple Music, days after Apple Inc did an about-face, agreeing to pay artists during a free trial of its new streaming music service.

Young left the door open to streaming. "When the quality is back, I'll give it another look. Never say never," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'No streaming for Neil Young's music'. Print Edition | Subscribe