David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash all request their labels remove their recordings from Spotify

The Crosby, Stills & Nash cover photo, from the self-titled album released in 1969

As we wrote the other day, like many veteran musicians, the ownership of David Crosby’s back catalog is a complicated matter.

His most famous band recordings (including Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) are owned by Warner Music Group; his most famous solo recordings are owned by BMG (via its 2013 acquisition of Sanctuary); and some of his other solo recordings are now owned by Irving Azoff‘s Iconic Artists Group, which bought all rights that Crosby still owned to his catalog last year.

(Iconic Artists Group also bought Crosby’s personal interests / royalties in his catalog across recorded music and publishing as part of that 2021 deal.)

Because of this tricky picture, it appeared over the weekend that David Crosby had given up on any possibility of pulling his music from Spotify, in solidarity with his former bandmate, Neil Young.

(If you’ve been on Planet Zog for a few days: Neil Young has removed his music from Spotify in protest at what he deems to be Covid misinformation being spread by the podcaster Joe Rogan.)

Crosby tweeted over the weekend that he wanted to delete his catalog from Spotify, but added with some resignation: “I no longer control it or I would in support of Neil.”

Now though, this story has taken another turn.

Crosby, alongside Graham Nash and Stephen Stills, have issued a statement to media confirming that all three of them have “requested that their labels remove their collective recordings from Spotify”.

The statement continues: “In solidarity with their bandmate, Neil Young, and in support of stopping harmful misinformation about COVID, they have decided to remove their records from the streaming platform including the recordings of CSNY, CSN, and CN, as well as Crosby’s and Stills’ solo projects. Nash has already begun the process to take down his solo recordings.”

“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 [this] platform.”

Crosby, Stills and Nash in a statement on Spotify issued today

Looking at the evidence, there is a good chance that the trio (including David Crosby) will get their way, despite the fact that in order for music to be removed from Spotify, the streaming service requires an official request from the distributor/label of that material:

  • Warner Music Group, which owns the Crosby, Stills & Nash / Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recordings, carried out Neil Young’s own request to have his music removed last week, as well as doing the same for Joni Mitchell;
  • and BMG, which owns much of the David Crosby solo masters, has just carried out a Spotify catalog takedown request for India.Arie, who has objected to podcaster Joe Rogan’s “language around race”. BMG distributes a portion of Arie’s career recordings.

In a unified statement issued today, Crosby, Stills and Nash 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.”

On Sunday (January 30), Spotify CEO and founder, Daniel Ek, responded to Neil Young’s protest over content aired on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Spotify is now introducing a written “content advisory” to any podcast on its service that include discussions about Covid-19.

Ek said: “This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources. This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.Music Business Worldwide