David Crosby has offered young creatives a stark message, saying “don’t become a musician”.
In a new interview with Stereogum, Crosby was asked what message he would give to new musical creatives. He replied: “Don’t become a musician.”
The reason he gave was largely due to streaming royalties.
He continued: “I don’t like Spotify. I don’t like any of the streamers, because they don’t pay us properly. Their proportion is wrong. They’re making billions with a ‘b’ and they’re paying out pennies with a ‘p.’
“That’s not OK. It’s not OK in that it took away half my income, and it’s not OK in that, especially, it makes it impossibly difficult for young people to make it in the business. It doesn’t pay them anything. It’s wrong.”
He said it felt “shitty” offering such advice but in the current streaming climate he felt there was little other advice he could give.
“You know how shitty it is for me to say that? You know how much I don’t want to say that?” Crosby added. “Some bright-eyed young kid who has talent. To the Becca Stevens and the Michelle Willises and the Michael Leagues of this world? To my own son James? I don’t want to say that to them, and it is the truth. I don’t hold out any hope for it at all.”
He went on to say that he will continue to make music after pulling his records from the streaming platform recently.
“What James and I are doing, and what the Lighthouse Band are doing – we’re making records anyway, because we love making records and because we think music is a lifting force…I think these are really hard times, and people need the lift. I’m making music because music makes things better and it makes people happier. That’s good enough for me. If I don’t get paid, I don’t get paid.”
“It’s OK for now. I’m going to run out of money in a couple of years and then I’ll have to sell my house. That’s just how that is. I can’t do shit about it. I can’t play live anymore. I’m 80 years old and I’m very fragile health-wise. I can’t change the marketplace.”
On streaming giants Spotify he continued: “They’re making the money and they’re not going to change that. They’re not going to suddenly develop a sense of moral responsibility. They’re scummy people.”