The Neil Young vs. Spotify saga

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one bit:

Some see the musician as an intellectual hero for taking a stand. Yet [Neil] Young’s own record in this area is far from pristine. For years, he has spread scientific misinformation about GMO foods. While experts have consistently judged GMO foods to be both safe and useful, Young in one song referred to them as poison. As a guest on the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in 2016, Young suggested that GMO foods caused “terrible diseases.” It is hard not to wonder to what degree anti-biotech sentiments like these, ironically, might have fed the current skepticism of Covid vaccines.

I also question whether Young’s motives in the Spotify fracas were purely ideological. Just a few days ago, Young participated in the launch of a (temporary) satellite radio Neil Young channel. I don’t begrudge him that business decision, and I will listen myself. Yet I also recognize that demand for his satellite radio channel could grow now that he is off Spotify. All the publicity stirred up by Young’s departure from Spotify probably won’t hurt, either.

Joni Mitchell by the way ragged on DDT way back when (admittedly the costs of the anti-DDT crusade are sometimes overrated by those on the Right).  So many musicians are purveyors of misinformation, I wonder how she and Neil feel about being paired with Lennon’s “Imagine” song on Spotify.  And here is the close:

The more you understand that nobody’s position really makes any sense, the more quickly you can embrace your inner Heart of Gold, a song that is still on YouTube, right along with these speeches by Adolf Hitler.

Recommended, not the speeches though.


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