David Crosby is always unflinchingly honest, even if it has landed him with a long list of enemies. He has become disenfranchised with the music business and advised fans to not seek a career in the industry.
Crosby made the remarks because of the current economics of the business, which has severely been affected by streaming services, and people no longer buying records. He explained his only reason for still being involved is his love for creating art, but it’s not a way of life Crosby would recommend to the younger generation.
After Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify because of The Joe Rogan Experience, which he claimed spread misinformation, a debate was sparked about how the platform treats artists. Crosby believes the situation will only worsen, which is why he felt forced into selling the rights to his back catalogue.
Discussing Spotify, he explained: “I think everybody should pull their stuff off, but I don’t think most people can afford to simply because even the pittance they pay is better than nothing for most people. So that’s it. That’s what they have to do.”
Crosby says he can’t imagine businesses “growing a conscience” or “suddenly grow some balls and stand against the trend.” He added: “They’re not going to feel the need to do the right thing. They’re going to keep on collecting money and being shitty to the world. That’s what we have to deal with.”
He sold his publishing rights in 2021, but it was a desperate measure for Crosby, and if it was down to him, he’d never have signed the deal. However, due to the pandemic, Crosby needed an income and had little choice.
He continued: “I was trying to be grateful that I could still go out and play live and pay the rent and take care of my family. Then along comes Covid-19, and I couldn’t do that either. That’s why I sold my publishing to Irving [Azoff]. I didn’t wanna sell my publishing, man. I didn’t wanna sell a goddamn thing. I didn’t have any goddamn choice.”
Painfully, when Crosby provided advice to the younger generation of artists — he told them to give up their hopes and aspirations. He continued: “Don’t become a musician. You know how shitty it is for me to say that? You know how much I don’t want to say that? Some bright-eyed young kid who has talent … 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.”
Crosby’s comments are horrible to read, and it shows how his decades in the industry have drained him of enthusiasm. If you want to make money, you don’t chase a recording career, and it’s always been that way, but aspiring artists shouldn’t let his cynicism stop them from following their dreams.