David Crosby has never been one to hold back, and he has very interesting advice for younger artists that want to pursue a career in music: Don’t.
In a new interview with Stereogum, Crosby is asked what advice he’d give younger musicians in navigating the current music industry, and he said, “Don’t become a musician. You know how s—-y 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 would also say regarding the music industry, “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.”
Crosby takes a big issue with streaming services, too, saying, “With me, you have to understand — I don’t like Spotify. I don’t like any of the streamers, because they don’t pay us properly. Their proportion is wrong. They’re making billions with a b and they’re paying out pennies with a p. That’s not OK. It’s not OK in that it took away half my income, and it’s not OK in that, especially, it makes it impossibly difficult for young people to make it in the business. It doesn’t pay them anything. It’s wrong. I don’t like Spotify on purpose because of that. I don’t like their quality level either. They bum up the signal pretty badly. But they and all the other streaming services are ripping us off. They’re quite happy with it. They have no intention of changing it.”
Despite his feelings on the music business, Crosby still believes in the power of music saying, “You can quote me. I believe this hippie bulls—. I think music is a lifting force, and I think these are really hard times, and people need the lift. I’m making music because music makes things better and it makes people happier. That’s good enough for me. If I don’t get paid, I don’t get paid.”