In a lengthy new post on his Neil Young Archives site entitled Google And Artists, the rocker takes aim at one of the big ones.
The legendary musician delivered an emotional, targeted rant at Google, Facebook, Amazon and similar tech giants on Friday, accusing them of underpaying artists.
“Today, in the age of Facebook, Google and Amazon, it’s hard to tell how a new and growing musical artist could make it in the way we did,” Young wrote in a post published by Neil Young Archives.
“The Tech Giants have figured out a way to use all the great music of everyone from all time, without reporting an artist’s number of plays or paying a fucking cent to the musicians. Aren’t they great companies!!!
“It makes you wonder where the next generation of artists will come from. How will they survive?”
Young then turned his attention to Google in particular, who he vehemently chastized for not adequately compensating artists, and promoting torrent sites in search results.
“‘Don’t be evil.’ That was Google’s corporate motto as they directed users to pirate sites to get artist’s creations and not pay!! Amazing tech breakthrough!! Meanwhile, they reap the bucks from ads people read while listening to music made by the artists,” he wrote.
“Google just changed their motto from ‘Do the Right Thing,’ but haven’t changed anything else as they continue to rip off the artist community, building their wealth on music’s back and paying nothing to the artists. WOW! Brilliant tech breakthrough! BTW, Google is YouTube. Guess who’s next?”
Google and Microsoft inked a deal in 2017 to combat piracy by demoting links to websites that contain pirated content. And while Google wiped 786 pirate sites from search results in November, the issue is by no means solved, with torrenting sites still slipping into search. Google’s current data shows 3,267,540,124 URLs as requested to be removed to date, and while not all are prohibited sites, you can see the scale of the problem.
It’s not the first time Young has taken on industry heavyweights, pulling his music from streaming services in 2015 and arguing that “streaming is the worst audio in history.” Young launched the Neil Young Archives in December, with high quality streams of his back catalogue available for free — it will become a subscription-based site from June 30.
And remember Pono, Neil Young’s high-resolution audio player? It was that super-expensive iPod that promised to restore high-fidelity sound to streaming, well before Tidal ran on the same promise. In April 2017, Young announced Pono was discontinued.
Frankly, Young gives more of a shit about the impact of major tech companies and streaming services on artist royalties and sound quality than many popular artists of younger generations. Keep fighting the good fight.