Artist News Business News Digital

Neil Young accuses Google of paying no music royalties

By | Published on Monday 26 February 2018

Neil Young

Neil Young has accused Google of ripping off young artists, making it near impossible for them to earn a living.

Posting on his Neil Young Archives website, he argues that Google has built its business off the back of music, without passing any money back to the creators. Which is something of an exaggeration – they’ve definitely passed through some money through Google Play and YouTube – though not nearly enough, Young presumably means. He’s also unhappy with Google search directing people to piracy. After ranting in this vein for a while he then concludes by talking up his Xstream streaming service, which doesn’t really exist yet.

“Today, in the age of Facebook, Google and Amazon, it’s hard to tell how a new and growing musical artist could make it in the way we did”, he writes. “The tech giants have figured out a way to use all the great music of everyone from all time, without reporting an artist’s number of plays or paying a fucking cent to the musicians. Aren’t they great companies! It makes you wonder where the next generation of great artists will come from. How will they survive?”

In order to read this on Neil Young’s website, you need to log in, which you can do with your Facebook or Google account.

He goes on: “‘Don’t be evil’. That was Google’s corporate motto as they directed users to pirate sites to get artist’s creations and not pay! Amazing tech breakthrough! Meanwhile, they reap the bucks from ads people read while listening to music made by the artists. Google just changed their motto to ‘do the right thing’, but haven’t changed anything as they continue to rip off the artist community, building their wealth on music’s back and paying nothing to the artists. Brilliant tech breakthrough! BTW, Google is YouTube. Guess who’s next?”

I’m not really sure who’s next. Or what he means by that question. But I was slightly distracted by all the studio quality, free-to-access, Neil Young music on the Neil Young Archives site.

He concludes by bigging up the still in development Xstream service, which powers that NYA site. At which point he switches to talking about digital audio quality, and then says that he’s happy not to earn any money from the music he’s sharing.

“I am so happy to be able to share my music and albums like ‘Broken Arrow’ with you here at NYA, where you can actually hear what we did”, he writes. “Xstream high resolution music makes me feel like I was there. I hope you can feel it too. The more you enjoy this music, the happier I am to share it with you. NYA is moving into a future that is really different from what we have now. It will not be easy. We are going to break a few rules and give you what you want”.