David Crosby Says ‘Don’t Become a Musician’
David Crosby said his advice to young musicians was not to do it, even though it’s the advice he didn’t want to give.
Despite that, the veteran singer-songwriter noted that he maintained his faith in music as a “lifting force.”
In a recent interview with Stereogum, Crosby reflected on his decision to have his catalog removed from Spotify in support of former bandmate Neil Young. “I think everybody should pull their stuff off, but I don’t think most people can afford to simply because even the pittance they pay is better than nothing for most people,” he said. “So that’s it. That’s what they have to do.”
He said he doesn't see the biggest corporations in music "growing a conscience. ... They’re not going to suddenly grow some balls and stand against the trend. They’re not going to feel the need to do the right thing. They’re going to keep on collecting money and being shitty to the world. That’s what we have to deal with. 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.”
Asked what he tells younger artists about “how to navigate” the situation, Crosby replied: “Don’t become a musician. You know how shitty 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.”
Regardless, he added that he has several albums underway "because we love making records, and because we think music is a lifting force. ... I believe this hippie bullshit. 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.”