Everyone’s circling the wagons and retreating to their corners, to mangle metaphors:
This week’s cardinal sin is Misinformation: If you have the gall to question vaccine mandates or lockdowns or whether to vaccinate children under 12, you’ll be branded with an M for Misinformation and banished from Twitter and Facebook and Spotify, and…
Wait; back up one: Spotify?
Yep. Seems Neil Young got wind of Joe Rogan committing the sin of Misinformation on Spotify. So he took Spotify to task on his website, posting “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Two problems here:
- Young doesn’t own the masters of his albums: Warner Bros. does.
- Rogan is the most popular podcaster in the world; in fact, he signed a $150 million deal with Spotify in 2020.
So Young was horrified when Spotify shrugged and removed his music. Young’s post was hastily hoicked off his website, and was soon replaced with an embarrassed “Before I told my friends at Warner Bros. about my desire to leave the SPOTIFY platform, I was reminded by my own legal forces that contractually I did not have the control of my music to do that.”
Young’s been complaining about streaming music in general, and specifically audio quality, for years. He’s been threatening to yank his music from Spotify for years, even though (See No. 1 up there) legally he can’t.
You’d think he might have learned something when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama blew Young’s Southern Man away like a fart in a hurricane. I love Young’s music; always have. Even Southern Man. But he’s one of those celebrities who thinks we’re all entitled to his opinion: In this case, that Spotify can’t possibly survive without him.
But Young’s “friends at Warner Bros.” weren’t buying it. So Young simultaneously backpedaled and gaslighted the situation (which is an impressive feat), and said this whole silly misunderstanding is about audio quality. Riiight.
But there’s always hope: Maybe old dinosaurs like Neil Young can learn new tricks. In the meantime, some schadenfreude is definitely in order: Young’s learning the hard way that cancel culture can bite back, and it’s a lot less fun if you’re the collateral damage.
Kudos to Warner Bros.: Maybe their decision was more about money than scruples, but as Gina Carano and Dave Chappelle have ably demonstrated: Cancel culture has no power unless we surrender to it. When companies refuse to knuckle under to pressure, and celebrities refuse to apologize and grovel, cancel culture’s about as destructive and scary as a Nerf sledgehammer.