The Spotify, Joe Rogan, Neil Young Controversy Is Nothing But A Bunch Of Rich Entitled Babies Stomping Their Feet (Over Money) And Everybody Needs To Shut The Fuck Up And Get Over Themselves
Coley beat me to blogging Joe Rogan's response to all the "outrage" that escalated over the weekend, this morning.
The fact Rogan posted this isn't out of the ordinary for him. Nor were his comments.
Usually, when there are hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions (Spotify lost a reported $4 billion last week) at stake, the people writing the checks will tell the person cashing them to fall on their sword, or at least issue a statement to stop the bleeding. It's become standard practice during the pussification of America.
But that's not what I think happened here. I have no doubt Spotify was thrilled by Rogan addressing the controversy (more on this below), but I don't think they forced him to do it.
One of the qualities I, and the 11 million people who listen to him regularly, enjoy about Rogan, is his level-headedness, logic, and common sense. All qualities in extreme scarcity nowadays, and all on display in his ten-minute statement.
For those coming late to the party, this all started last week with Neil fuckin Young.
I blogged it when it broke because my Spidey Sense was tingling and telling me that this was going to be a much bigger story than it initially seemed.
And was it ever.
Neil Young, the same guy who in 1985 told the world that homosexuals were responsible for Aids and should be avoided in public-
“You go to a supermarket and you see a f— behind the fuckin cash register, you don’t want him to handle your potatoes.”
Is now the same guy extremely fired up that Spotify is not only allowing Joe Rogan to exist on its platform, but also paying him handsomely to do so ($100 million dollars for a 10 year exclusive to be exact).
He gave them an ultimatum last week, they could have him and his catalog, or Joe Rogan. And if they sided with Rogan, he was demanding his material be taken down.
At first, people laughed, including me.
This would be like Brian Hoyer going to Robert Kraft a few years ago and telling him he could have him or TB12. But he couldn't have both.
Granted, Neil Young is one of the greatest living rock n roll musicians alive. But money talks.
Which leads me to where we're at now.
As Brooklyn's Troy Ave poetically told us, "It's all about the motha fuckin money"
And as is with far too many things today, that's the case here.
Turns out Neil Young was just the first domino to fall in this whole thing.
Joni Mitchell, singer of "Help Me", for the youngsters out there, followed suit. (Pro tip- send this song to your mom and tell her you heard it and thought of her. It'll make her day)
Then your significant other's favorite author/podcaster Brene Brown threw her hat in the ring.
Then on Saturday, Nils Lofgren, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, joined the club.
No, he's not speaking for The Boss, or the E Street Band, or even his other group Crazy Horse in saying any of their music is coming down. Just his own personal stuff…
Now rumors are flying (because social media sucks) that Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, Peter Frampton, and Dolly Parton have all done the same.
But they're bullshit. (As of now).
This entire thing is bullshit.
Wanna know why?
Because Neil Young doesn't even own his own fucking music anymore.
A little over a year ago Young sold 50% of his publishing to Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a UK-based investment fund, in a deal worth a reported $150 million.
It gave Hipgnosis the rights to the worldwide copyright and income interests from the 1,180 songs composed by Young.
Hipgnosis is in the business of acquiring any and all artist catalogs it can get its hands on, and then recouping its investment through royalties via streaming, sales, and ad placements.
Some of their other more notable clients include Mark Ronson, Chic, Barry Manilow and Blondie.
And do you wanna know who the big financial backer behind them is?
Well, you're just gonna have to tune in to "On The Guest List" this week to find out. I will be going IN on all this bullshit with in-depth analysis on who and what are pulling the strings. And why.
(I'll give you a hint, the company recently appointed Jeffrey B. Kindler, Former Chairman and CEO of Pfizer to its senior advisory board…)
Conveniently, just days later Mr. Young had Amazon Music waiting in the wings with open arms for him. And a spiffy new sign-up deal for new subscribers!
“Amazon has been leading the pack in bringing Hi-Res audio to the masses, and it’s a great place to enjoy my entire catalog in the highest quality available,” Mr. Young said, referring to high-resolution audio. He also thanked streaming services Apple Music and Qobuz for “sticking with my High-Res music.”
(Remember in my last blog where I mentioned how Young ripped Spotify for their "shoddy" streaming quality when he pulled his music off the platform a few years ago before putting it back? Well here he goes again)
Also, a lot of people who have no clue how the revenue sharing breakdown works for artists are wondering how much musicians actually see from streaming services.
According to Forbes-
“for 1 million plays of a song, artists receive roughly the following payout from these streaming services: Amazon Music $5,000; Apple Music $5,000-$5,500; Google Play $12,000; Pandora $1,400; YouTube $1,700.” And Spotify? Roughly $3000-$6000 (4.5 cents per stream).
That's not taking into account the pounds of flesh that the label takes, that the distributor takes, that they have to kick to the songwriters if they have them, and any other revenue splits they have based on terms.
Now, Monday morning, this is a full-blown front page, top-of-the-hour leading news story. Because of course it is.
Controversy leads. And talking heads need bullshit to blow out of proportion and listen to themselves argue about. And this fits the narrative all too perfectly.
The world's foremost podcaster, a guy who doesn't take himself too seriously, yet who is taken very seriously by fan and critic alike, is at the center of a shit show he never intended to create.
Coley's blog really hit the nail on the head with this whole thing. Especially these two paragraphs
This was no longer a show that started on Christmas Eve 12 years ago with a friend and a big bag of weed. This became, at least to a large swath of consumers and content aggregators, one of the largest sources of news in America. No, that was never Rogan’s intent, but at least in this video he now seems to understand that has become his reality. You’re not a Mom & Pop shop when you’re raking in $100 million from a tech conglomerate. The authenticity must remain, otherwise the show dies. The intent has to be handled with a bit more caution. With great power comes great responsibility, things of that nature.
It’s the largest soapbox on the block. Perhaps if we stop treating conversations as news we can maintain our last shreds of sanity. My guess is we’ll be back here by Wednesday running another story on this because we love nothing more than to be a rat on a wheel running nowhere as fast as possible.
These are the two episodes everybody is up in arms about by the way.
If you're one of the 200 million people who listened to either or both of these episodes, you're probably aware that Rogan never once advocated for anything specifically, or vouched for anything these doctors claimed.
He simply asked questions, listened to their answers, asked follow-up questions, and allowed them a platform to share their opinions. Their fact based opinions, considering they are experts in their fields and all.
If allowing differing opinions equals promoting misinformation then we are well on our way, bombing down, the most slippery of slopes.
White Sox Dave's buddy Edward Snowden chimed in with something I think was spot on-
In the end, it doesn't matter if it's money being the real reason, behind the scenes, this was set off, (which I think definitely plays a huge part in this).
I think it comes down to people now being so comfortable and accustomed to canceling anybody and anything they feel threatened by, and picking and choosing when and where "freedom of speech" applies and doesn't apply that it's now getting to the point where merely discussing certain topics brings out the pitchforks and axes.
Add to that fact that people are just straight-up fucking lazy, and everything is driven by headlines now, requiring no extra reading, research, or discussion and it's kerosine on the fire.
A large segment of the population now bases their own opinion and stance on everything according to the ideals of whoever it is they look up to or worship. Celebrity. Party. Figurehead. Etc.
And that's why I think this feels like a group of pissed of children stomping their feet because they don't like what they're being told. Or rather, what’s allowed to be told.
Critical thinking used to be a real thing. Taught in schools, and encouraged and rewarded in real life.
Now it’s suddenly this outrageous concept.
To think we’re unable to form our own opinions and come to our own conclusions after hearing multiple sides of an issue is insulting.
Whichever side you're on in this argument, no matter if you're a seasoned Rogan listener, or can't fucking stand the guy, you're taking up for your side, digging in, and refusing the budge.
I mean LOL at the unintentional comedy of this statement.
Two of those names out of the ten listed have actually taken their music down. The rest are being rumored as a result of the phone game. Telling other people "they never really cared about free speech in the first place" because they don't agree with you is the epitome of irony. Yet rubbish like this is blasted out into the Twittersphere to rack up more retweets and 16,000 likes. And around and around we go.
We are far from over with this saga. It actually feels like it's just getting started sadly. And now that artists that haven't necessarily been relevant lately are seeing the surge in media coverage surrounding this issue, and money being thrown around from competing streaming services, don't expect the names joining the boycott to cease. I think it will only get worse.
I love famous quotes. Like the kid in American History X says, "Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong."
So here's mine for this situation.
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
[Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]
― Harry S. Truman
p.p.s. - I will be extremely disappointed if The Foo Fighters join this boycott.