David Crosby
David Crosby (Ben Houdijk/Shutterstock)

Are Streaming Services Really That Bad For David Crosby And Other Classic Artists?

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(Hypebot) – David Crosby has sold his recorded music and publishing rights which includes his work in the Byrds, Crosby & Nash, Crosby Stills and Nash, and Crosby Stills Nash and Young to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group citing streaming services and the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.

“I can’t work … and streaming stole my money,” Crosby tweeted after Bob Dylan sold his iconic catalog, and yesterday in the sale announcement he added, ““Given our current inability to work live, this deal is a blessing for me and my family.”

Certainly, the pandemic had decimated every artist’s ability to make money performing live, but does the streaming side of Crosby’s complaint really hold up?

How bad is streaming for classic artists?

How and how much all artists are compensated by music streamers certainly deserves a makeover, but legendary songwriters and performers like Crosby actually receive money for the use of their popular catalog that they did not previously.

Prior to Spotify David Crosby the songwriter got paid when a fan bought the album, CD or mp3 10, 20 or more years ago,; and no matter how many hundreds of times a fan played it, he never got paid again.

But when that same fan cranks up The Byrd’s “Eight Miles High” or Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Wooden Ships” on Spotify or Apple Music co-writer David Crosby gets paid. Arguably songwriters deserve to be paid more by the streamers, but something is much better than the nothing they get paid when that same fan listens on their turntable, CD player or iPod.

Then there’s David Crosby the singer.

When those same songs get played on the radio, David Crosby gets a check as a songwriter, but nothing as a performer on those iconic songs.

Now when those songs are played on SiriusXM, Pandora other digital audio channels, David Crosby the performer is paid via Soundexchange.


What about lost sales?

Crosby might counter that while all of the above is true, Spotify and Apple Music have decimated sales of any new music he release and that’s what ahs hurt him most of all.

With no offense meant to the talented singer-songwriter, how many copies of his newer works – even those released before music streaming became popular – were really sold?

Music streaming is neither all good or all bad, but one group that has benefited from the digital age is the creators and owners of classic catalogs of music.

Irving Azoff knows that.

It’s why he just bought David Crosby’s catalog.

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