Thom Yorke Slams Spotify, Pulls Music
Streaming is no good for new artists, he says
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2013 9:24 AM CDT
British musician Thom Yorke performs at Glastonbury Festival, in Glastonbury, England, Friday, June 25, 2010.   (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

(Newser) – Spotify is all the rage at the moment, but according to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, the streaming service is not good for musicians—at least not when it comes to new music. Things got rolling yesterday, when producer Nigel Godrich started tweeting against Spotify. Then Yorke picked up the cry, and pulled all his solo music and the music of his band Atoms For Peace from the service. The crux of Godrich's argument (typos his), much of which was re-tweeted by Yorke:

  • Godrich: "It's bad for new music. ... The reason is that new artists get paid f--- all with this model.. Millions of streams gets them a few thousand dollars.. Not like radio at all. ... Pink floyds catalogue has already generated billions of dollars for someone(not necessarily the band) so now putting it on a streaming site makes total sense.. But if people had been listening to spotify instead of buying records in 1973... I doubt very much if dark side would have been made.. It would just be too expensive. ... streaming suits catalogue.. But cannot work as a way of supporting new artists work."

Yorke added (typos his, too): "Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples." The Guardian does the math: Spotify would pay an artist just over $5,700 for a song that managed to get one million streams (and most don't get near that many). Spotify responded, pointing out that Yorke's music can still be streamed on YouTube and offering up a statement: "Spotify's goal is to grow a service which people love, ultimately want to pay for [unlimited streaming requires a paid subscription], and which will provide the financial support to the music industry necessary to invest in new talent and music."

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
Jul 16, 2013 3:02 PM CDT
A point I haven't seen raised is that people used to have a lot more disposable money to spend on records and show tickets, regardless of any business model talk, which is valid as well....but on a broad level far more people nowadays are just able to pay the bills and little else.
Jul 16, 2013 11:03 AM CDT
There are many streaming services out there, with tons of great music waiting to be listened to, mostly by artists you have never heard of. Western civilization will remain intact without Thom's contribution.
Jul 16, 2013 7:22 AM CDT
This generates an interesting idea. It seems like Yorke thinks that established artists are fine with not making money off recordings since they can tour or still sell regardless. It is a good point that new acts can't break in in this model. However, Young acts can also produce an album for next to nothing. Big companies aren't really necessary but the work and creativity of artists needs to be rewarded somehow. I think that users should pay for a download or a second listen. It seems like the internet radio model works pretty well. If you don't download things, you will get introduced to new things through a streaming service. Unlimited listening with ads or subscriptions without ads is not ideal but it might be the only way. Spotify has gotten a reputation for ripping off musicians but the only reason that people use them is because it is free. Tricky situation but it can't be solved by one side or the other alone.