Updated Jan 28, 2022 - Economy

Why Neil Young's Spotify standoff matters to the music industry

Neil Young in 2019.

Neil Young in 2019. Photo: Gus Stewart/Getty Images

Spotify will remove Neil Young's music from its streaming platform, because the 76-year-old rock icon objected to the company's response to vaccine misinformation.

The big picture: This matters more than you'd think, given the popularity of old music.

  • 70% of the music streamed online is older than 18 months, according to MRC Data's 2021 year-end report.

Yes, but: Many of the big new releases of 2021 were dropped because tour dates got COVID-canceled, Matt Yazge, vice president of research business for MRC Data, tells Axios.

  • 61% of U.S. music listeners say that they are interested in discovering new or emerging music artists, Yazge says.

Oldies are popular partly because more boomers and Gen Xers are using streaming services. But a big driver of this trend is TikTok.

  • Case in point: Remember the skateboard guy who turned Fleetwood Mac's 1977 hit "Dreams" into a 2020 chart topper?
  • A lot of the investment money flowing into the music industry right now is coming from big catalog deals where older artists sell the rights to their classic songs.

Go deeper: Music sounds like money to Wall Street

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