WTF, Neil?

Caution #1: This post contains *salty* language.

Caution #2: Old, privileged, white guy whining about his ridiculous first-world non-problem.

Aargh!! Neil Young has pulled his music catalog off of Spotify. There are two types of people in this world. Those who could not possibly care less about this, and the rest of us—that’s 6,128,499 people according to Spotify’s monthly listener tabulation. 0.082% of the global population. This is a huge deal.

Remarkably, some of you might not know what I’m talking about, yet. I get that. If this was about Ed Sheeran or Beyoncé, I wouldn’t know, I might not ever know. But Neil Young! Disgusted with the popularity of antivax podcaster Joe Rogan on Spotify (forty episodes, 11,000,000 listens), Neil Young threw down an ultimatum. Him or me. Joe or Neil. Spotify had to boot Rogan off the station, or Neil would walk away.

Right now, the guy who wound up reading this liberal-ass blog post because he clicked on the Joe Rogan tag I posted is about to start protesting. “Joe isn’t just some antivaxxer…” I don’t care. I don’t care about Joe Rogan. I don’t care what he believes. Every time I click on my CNN app there’s an article about him. This has been going on for a month. Wanna know how many I’ve read? Zero. I simply don’t care.

I first read about Neil’s demand on Wednesday morning. An article buried deep down the page, where you see the crap about assholes assaulting flight attendants and celebrity divorces. An afterthought. By the time I got home from work, it was all gone. Poof, vanished. I got an obnoxious Song Unavailable message when I clicked Powderfinger, and then Cinnamon Girl, and then Into the Black.

I checked in on Eli. He was hanging out in his bedroom listening to the Buffalo Springfield, Young’s band before he went solo. Eli tried to cheer me up. “Technically, they didn’t remove everything.”

This is where the whining starts. What the actual fuck, Neil. I’ve been on Spotify exactly four days. Writing an article about a free streaming service offered by the library, I realized that the cost of Eli’s personal Spotify account, Sophie’s student account, and the Amazon Music account that allows Alexa to play music in our kitchen, was more than the cost of a Spotify family account. We lowered our expenses and upgraded our account.

I got my own login. And along with that, came Neil Young. All of it. Forty-one albums, including the new one, Barn, that’s getting mixed reviews and is really in dire need of my definitive opinion. I had my chance, four days. And now it’s all gone. No Barn review from me. Sorry Neil, you brought this on yourself.

I’m sure lots of Neil Young fans are proud of the stance he’s taking. I see the value, someone needs to hold these multi-bazillion dollar monopolies accountable. I’m sure he’s hoping other artists will jump on the band wagon with him. But do any of them even own their music anymore? Taylor Swift lost control of hers, Springsteen just sold his. The estates of the Beatles sold out decades ago to Michael Jackson. There’s no integrity any more. It’s all about making a buck.

But maybe that’s for the best. You give these artists control of their music, and they withhold it from their fans. “I think he’s being childish.” That’s what Eli says. Someone else, maybe me, would say he’s trying to censor other voices. Neil, that ship has passed. The teams are already picked. To paraphrase the Buffalo Springfield, the battle lines are already drawn—months ago. The people who want to listen to Joe Rogan will listen to him. Everyone has already made up their mind about the vaccine.

Now the people who want to listen to Neil Young need to find a different way to do it. Since I just cancelled Amazon Music, I need to explore the options. Eli just dusted off an old turntable and set it up in his bedroom. Maybe I should buy Barn on vinyl. I’m sure that would make Neil Young happy. What would make me and six million other fans happy is if he’d put his crap back on Spotify. Tweet out: Haha, JK. I guess in the meantime, there’s YouTube.

Recently Thrasher has been at the top of my list of Neil Young songs. Give it a listen.

29 thoughts on “WTF, Neil?

  1. I read about Neil and I thought “Good for him!” He gives zero fucks! He has enough money, he makes music cuz he wants to. I respect him for sticking to his standards. Keep On Rockin In The Free World😉

    I don’t use spotify🤷🏼‍♀️ I use YouTube or commercial radio or commercial pandora🤷🏼‍♀️

    Thrasher is excellent 🎵 🎶

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry for the delay, I thought I had already responded to your comment. I respect him (and Joni Mitchell, et al) for sticking to his standards too, but it still leaves me without a way to listen to his music. But I also worry about this becoming a trend and further fragmenting America (if that’s even possible). The ‘sides’ will have their own social media platforms, music and tv platforms, etc. We’ll become two separate sects living next to each other in completely different worlds. Sort of like the Sharks and the Jets. War & terrorism between the two will be common place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t have a crystal ball, but I see things getting worse before they get better. I don’t think it will completely go down the drain in our lifetimes but it might. It’s not just America either. This pandemic has *revealed* the cracks in social structures in many countries. I believe they were already there. I don’t think they’re any worse, they’re just more in our face. As horrible as Jan 6 was, and the actual threat it was… most people don’t care. It doesn’t affect their day to day lives. I think we’ll continue our day to day lives unless we lose internet and cell service to a massive EMP or something.

        I can understand you getting ticked off. It’s the little things we count on that keep us slogging on. I got mad when Pop Tarts quit making the peanut butter ones🤷🏼‍♀️😂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Well for thirty dollars a year you can get the archive all the Neil Young you will ever need. Videos, movies and his very own newspaper.
    I think I’m ambivalent about his choice. He sold the rights to his music I think last year. I guess he’s just ornery and can do it.
    I too have never knowingly heard Joe Rogan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Man, no more subscriptions or streaming services. There are so freaking many already. The time I interact with music is when I’m mobile–in the car or otherwise. My phone is the best device to use. Plus it efficiently streams directly into my hearing aids so I can really hear it. I know he’s got the right to do this and I respect that, but he’s letting me down.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I had to prewarn readers about whining. I find it hard to complain about something like this (even though it really goads me) because so many people have real problems. Foul language–I’m out of practice. I used to not care, but now it makes me feel funny to f-bomb in a blog post.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The F bomb really is a bomb and it comes with its own exclamation mark. At least it does, if used judiciously, which is how I prefer to read it. I keep a couple in my pocket just in case the beige expletives don’t quite seem to carry the point. Love your writing Jeff it’s always an enjoyable stroll for my eyes.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The Joe Rogan news has not really made it to this side of the pond so I didn’t know any of that. The man annoys me for other reasons though. I hope you still find some worth out of Spotify, I can vouch for the Discover Weekly. Once it figures out your music tastes, there’s gold.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m sure spotify will be fine. But I was really looking forward to an opportunity to stream the new album all the way through. Now I’ll need to listen on YouTube, which seems annoying.


  4. Never heard of Rogan. Not everything is World News.

    By and large, spitting the dummy is rarely helpful. I’ve done it a couple of times and never felt anything other than momentary relief followed by protracted embarrassment and discomfort.

    Never used the spotty thing either. Go buy secondhand CDs. They’re cheap as chips these days.

    Enjoyed the post, especially the Buffalo Springfield loop and Eli getting a turntable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1st, thanks for the phrase spitting the dummy. My whole family loves it. I once spit the dummy at a pizza joint over a small slight and the only result is my family didn’t get Gettysburg’s best pizza for 7 years. Realize there are dozens of options to replace my missing Neil Young tunes, but still, I think he’s only hurting the people who like him most.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw this whole thing start in the middle of the week too. I thought, Wow – Neil Young really threw down the gauntlet, eh? I don’t really listen to him (or anything much, really these days) but we have the Okay Google things all through the house that plays music for us. I hope you get your fix and I like your passion. A good salty use of the F-Bomb made me smile this morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve never heard of that song before. Just read the lyrics to Thrasher–they are great, but I haven’t a clue as to what Neil is singing about. Just as soon as I reason one line out and think I know what he means, another line comes along and confuses me again. Still, it is haunting and pretty and maybe that’s all a song needs to be to make lasting beauty.

    As for Spotify, I’ve never cared for it. It came with my car and I listened to it for the duration of the ‘free’ membership. Decided I didn’t need to pay to listen to music. (This is where being of a certain age means you remember when radio and tv were ‘free’ for the viewing/listening. Even if the price we paid was in commercials.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. I sing along with the song but have no idea what the point is. I hate paying for streaming services (see other comments) but recognize in this day and age, that’s how much of our content is delivered. What I refuse to do is pay for a Neil Young specific service. Who’s next? Pretty soon, subscribing to a radio station from a band is the only way you’ll be able to hear them. I don’t know why most of these people need any more money. We don’t charge anyone to read our blogs 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Saw a graphic that doesn’t want to open in the comments box soo I’ll reproduce the text:

    Everyone under 30: Who’s Neil Young?
    Everyone age 31-60: Didn’t realize Neil Young was still alive
    Everyone over 60: What’s Spotify?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Kill the First Line - The Good Men Project -

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