NEW YORK: Folk rock icon Neil Young has vowed to pull his music off streaming sites, complaining that even old cassettes had better sound than the online platforms.
The Canadian singer-songwriter, known for his passionate denunciations of corporate power, said he was “preserving (his music) the way I want it to be.”
“Streaming sucks. Streaming is the worst audio in history. If you want it, you got it. It’s here to stay,” Young wrote on Facebook.
Young’s catalogue including his latest album – The Monsanto Years, which attacks the biotech giant over genetically modified food – nonetheless was still available July 16 on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming sites, a day after he said he was starting to take his work down.
Young joins the dwindling number of artists who have refused streaming, the rapidly growing technology that allows unlimited on-demand digital music.
Pop superstar Taylor Swift had been the most vocal critic of streaming but recently turned around and put her music on the new Apple Music site. Her change of heart came after Apple agreed to increase compensation to artists in response to her complaints.
Unlike many musicians who criticise streaming, Young appeared to be focused not on its financial structure but rather on the sound quality.
The prolific 69-year-old rocker is the developer of Pono, a niche portable player and downloading platform that bills itself as offering music at the quality of studio production.
“AM radio kicked streaming’s ass. Analogue cassettes and 8 tracks also kicked streaming’s ass, and absolutely rocked compared to streaming,” Young wrote.
“Copy my songs if you want to. That’s free. Your choice,” he said.
Most streaming sites use MP3s, the standard audio file since the 1990s, although some platforms including rap mogul Jay-Z’s Tidal and Paris-based Deezer – as well as Pono – have offered tiers with more advanced sound quality.
Digital music last year matched physical sales worldwide for the first time amid the rapid popularity of streaming in several major markets including the United States. – AFP