Spotify has called Neil Young’s bluff. The service deleted the artist’s entire back catalog after Young offered an “it’s-him-or-me” ultimatum, forcing the streaming giant to choose between him and podcaster Joe Rogan. Rogan’s show, a Spotify exclusive, has been repeatedly criticized by experts for being a source of COVID-19 misinformation to his millions of listeners. So where does that leave Young fans?
There are still plenty of music streaming services you can hear the work of the music veteran, including one you may not have heard of. Young has been banging the “hi-res is the best way to hear music” drum for a long time — we still remember when he said Amazon was going to change the Earth forever. While Spotify has yet to unveil its higher-quality streaming service there are a number of competitors which will gladly stream his songs at the highest possible bit rate.
Whether you’re looking for a Spotify alternative because you’re a fan of Young, or you support his anti-Rogan stance, here are your best options:
- Free (with ads) option: YouTube: The video streamer is always a great place to find music, including Young’s. Just know that Rogan’s show is on YouTube, too.
- Neil Young Archives: The singer’s Pono player and hi-res music store may have come and gone, but it has been replaced by a service called the Neil Young Archives. For $20 a year you can stream all of Neil Young’s back catalog in hi-res or standard 320kbps quality. There are apps for Android, iOS and the BluOS music system.
- Apple Music — As the second-largest streaming provider in the world, Apple Music has the rights to Young and millions of other artists besides. Users are able to stream his music in standard lossless or hi-res (Master) quality all for the standard price of $10 a month.
- Tidal — Tidal has long been associated with providing better deals for artists, and now that it’s under new ownership it has put its money where its mouth is. What does that mean for fans of Young and other bands? If you choose the $20 subscription then 10% of your money goes directly to your highest streamed artist that month. Young’s back catalog is available in hi-res if you choose the top tier, or in CD-quality lossless for the $10 tier.
- Qobuz — A relatively new entrant to the states, but its hi-res option is cheaper than Tidal’s from $13 a month and doesn’t require a specialized decoder. You can also buy his digital albums from the Qobuz store, and at a competitive rate
- Amazon Music Unlimited — For $8 a month, if you’re a Prime member, this is the cheapest way you can stream Young in hi-res.
Other services which are also still streaming Young include Deezer, Napster, YouTube Music, and Pandora Premium. In addition, SiriusXM has revived its Neil Young radio channel.
This latest standoff is likely just the beginning of a long-coming reckoning for Spotify, and streaming services in general, as the industry grapples with issues such as exclusivity, artist payments and social responsibility. This may be the first big split between musicians and podcasters, but it’s unlikely to be the last as more and more people vote with their clicks — and their wallets.