Neil Young pulls his music from Spotify to protest the content on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, and Nash follow suit. It’s a big story for a week, and some noise about “cancel culture” and Rogan himself lingers, but we’ve mostly moved on. Meanwhile, the economic model for music streaming is still broken. Songwriters make pennies for millions of streams, and the dynamics of the data-driven market are not quite conducive to the kind of experimentation and risk-taking that dominated the period when artists like Young and his contemporaries rose to fame. So, why don’t legacy artists who can command so much attention use that power to advocate for fair compensation for the next generation of artists? I don’t know the answer, but the question prompted me to invite songwriter/columnist Helienne Lindvall to join me for this episode.
Helienne hosts “Sounds” on BBC, talking about the ways in which streaming has changed the craft of songwriting.