Neil Young’s feud with Spotify ‘will not hurt’ streamer, ‘negative impact’ will fall on singer: brand expert

Young reportedly posted a letter that read: 'They can have Rogan or Young. Not both'

Neil Young and his catalog of music have returned to SiriusXM after the folk-rock legend cut ties with Spotify earlier this week.

On Thursday, SiriusXM announced that "Neil Young Radio" will return to the satellite station and will play all of his music "from his solo albums to his work with Crosby Stills, Nash & Young to ‘Buffalo Springfield’ and ‘Crazy House,’ his latest album."

Additionally, the company shared that "listeners will also hear special programs including weekly concert broadcasts from Young’s vaults, celebrity guest DJs and a ‘Barn’ track-by-track album special featuring [Young] sharing stories about each song on his latest album."

The news comes after Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: remove Joe Rogan's podcast or pull Young's music. 

Young had accused Rogan of spreading false information about COVID-19 vaccines through his Spotify show and subsequently admonished Spotify for allowing Rogan to continue delivering his podcast.


Neil Young accused Joe Rogan of spreading false information about COVID-19 vaccines on his Spotify podcast. (Getty Images)

With the move, many are curious to know if Young will ever return to Spotify and what the impact is on the streamer. FOX Business spoke to a leading reputation expert who explained that Young may not have to return to Spotify – and called the pivot to SiriusXM a "smart marketing hook" for the 76-year-old singer – while explaining the decision won't hurt Spotify. 


"Someone at SiriusXM has been reading the news and saw an opportunity to capitalize," said Eric Schiffer, an author and leading voice in media and branding. "Young's managers are hearing a giant sucking sound in their bank account over the Spotify exit perhaps are I'm sure happy about this so they can try to recapture the revenue that has been decimated from leaving Spotify."

When it comes down to business, Schiffer said Spotify and Young each dug their heels in the proverbial dirt – and the streamer sent a huge message to Young as far as who they side with in the heat of battle.

Before his music was removed from Spotify, Neil Young had over six million monthly listeners. (Photo by Amy Harris / Associated Press)

"Spotify has a giant deal with Rogan, so they clearly analyzed it in part through that prism," said Schiffer of Rogan's podcast, which Spotify reportedly acquired for over $100 million.

"They made a decision that they wanted to have a diverse set of voices and they're not going to get strong-armed by what many may see as an out-of-touch, elite approach to shut down free speech," Schiffer continued. "Rogan has a right to have various levels of his programming and to the extent that there is misinformation the media can also cover that."


The analyst also pressed that while he ultimately believes Young’s music will return to Spotify eventually, in the immediate interim, his attempt to back Spotify into a corner wasn’t a good look at all.

"Neil Young's comments and shot at Spotify makes Neil Young look like a giant baby and reinforces the view by those certainly on the right who will see him as taking whatever stops he will to control speech, including putting down what is one of the most popular music platforms in modern history," Schiffer opined. 

Schiffer also noted that in his opinion he believes "the comments will not hurt Spotify in any way."

‘Neil Young Radio’ returned to SiriusXM after the musician opted to have his large collection of tunes removed from Spotify after he criticized its podcast host Joe Rogan. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports | Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"You're not going to see a significant carnage fall Spotify from this choice, Schiffer said before reiterating his earlier point: "In many ways, I think the negative impact is largely going to go to Young because it decimates a significant part of his royalty strain and also alienates from many on the right who look at this as another out-of-touch liberal trying to shut down free speech in America."

"There will be some sparks and backlash but not material to their revenue or in a way that hurts the brand long-term," he added of Spotify.


Schiffer further suggested that such an "emotional" response from Young could do harm to his legacy. "He's choosing his emotional reaction to wanting to shut down diverging views over his desire to have a legacy and a revenue stream for his heirs," Schiffer said. 

"This is a short-term exit because this would be career stupidity to do this for a long period of time," concluded the expert. "At some point, those that manage his estate or his brand will be rational and put this into perspective."