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Shocking News: Aging Rockers Who Demanded Spotify Remove Their Music to Protest Joe Rogan are Back on Spotify

I have a semi-confession to make. I enjoy the music of the various iterations of the different bands comprised by the combination of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. They were ubiquitous during my formative years, but didn't necessarily speak to me the way they did older Boomers. The ones who grew up during Vietnam and Woodstock and subscribed to Rolling Stone. But sometimes on a lazy summer day, I find their acoustic sound, melodic arrangements and soulful harmonies are the perfect accompaniment to floating in the pool with a citrusy beer. And "Southern Cross" is one on the short list of songs I've been listening to for decades and never tire of. A peak of the entire Yacht Rock genre.

So it's with that respect for the band(s) and their music that I mention how a few months ago, all four artists demanded their music be taken down off Spotify, in order to protest the way the platform's number one talent was conducting his personal healthcare. 

First it was Young. Then Crosby, Stills and Nash all followed. 

It was a bold decision on their part. Putting principle above profits. Conscience ahead of commerce. It would undoubtedly cost them money. But they decided they couldn't put a price on their objection to how a comedian who used to host a reality show where contestants ate animal wangs dealt with a virus. Whether one feels that is misguided or not, you can still admire their dedication to their personal beliefs. And applaud them for their willingness to stand up for what they feel is right. 

Yeah. About that. Apparently some principles come with a Sell By date. 

Billboard - Crosby, Stills & Nash music can now be streamed on Spotify once again, five months after David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills requested their labels remove their recordings in support of Neil Young‘s decision to leave the streaming service. 

Their music is available via Spotify as of Saturday (July 2). CSN will donate proceeds from streams to COVID-19 charities for at least a month, a source tells Billboard.

In February, the band members commented, “We support Neil and we agree with him that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Spotify’s Joe Rogan podcast. While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences. Until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce, we don’t want our music — or the music we made together — to be on the same platform.”

Nash had previously shared a statement in which he said he “completely agree[s] and support[s] my friend, Neil Young.”

Kudos to CSN for their willingness to donate their royalties to Covid charities for an entire month. Which charities are still operating and what their mission is at this point, I have no clue. But giving money to worthy causes instead of putting in your own personal money market is noble every time it's done. So good on them. 

The question though is, what happened to supporting Neil Young? Stopping dangerous misinformation. The deadly consequences. Concern for humanity. Assuming there was some lag time between their demand for removal and today, let's assume that was four monthly checks they missed out on. Which appears to have been plenty enough real action for one lifetime as far as they were concerned. One fiscal quarter was all it took for them to decide they value "alternate points of view" alright. But more to the point, they value them royalties they get from 65-year-olds downloading "Teach Your Children" and "Marrakesh Express." 

They took a bold stand and got their objections to a comic's interview podcast heard, during a time when Joe Rogan was the number one topic in the country. And then went into a full backtrack on those objections over July 4th weekend, when no one is paying attention. A cynical man might accuse them of not believing in what they were saying back in February. But that would presume celebrities only pretend to take tough moral stands when all they're really motivated by is money, just like the rest of us. And that can't be true. So welcome back, CSN.