Beck Criticizes Spotify, Explains Why He Doesn’t Dance Anymore
'Song Reader' songwriter reveals a mysterious back injury in Argentine interview
Over the years, longtime Beck fans might’ve have noticed a shift in his onstage performance style. In the ’90s, the mercurial artist was known for frenetic dance moves — check out this 1997 take on “Where It’s At,” or a SPIN feature from that era comparing his moves to something out of a Jackie Chan movie. The man’s more recent shows, though still musically electrifying, have been restrained by comparison.
Now, ahead of Beck’s February 2014 album Morning Phase, he’s shedding some light on certain health problems he has suffered. While promoting recent shows in South America, he told Argentina’s Pagina12.com he sustained some unexplained injuries that caused severe damage to his spine. FutureHeart (via Stereogum) translated the interview from its Spanish adaptation back into English, so these aren’t direct quotes, but Beck said he had a lengthy recovery and is now on the mend, though he can’t move the way he once did.
Elsewhere in the interview, Beck suggested he’s no big fan of Spotify. He reportedly said the payments he receives from the streaming service provider aren’t enough to cover the costs of the people who work with him live and in the studio. He also said he’s not especially thrilled with the sound quality of digital music, and he expressed optimism for Neil Young’s planned Pono music service.
It’s difficult to tell from this translation of a translation whether Beck fully sides with David Byrne, Nigel Godrich, Thom Yorke, and other artists harshly critical of Spotify and its ilk. Meanwhile, though, Spotify has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over automatic renewal charges. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, a San Francisco subscriber argues the policy violates a California law requiring businesses to get “affirmative consent” before automatically billing people. The Swedish company is reportedly close to securing a $200 million cash infusion, so $9.99 a month might not be its biggest concern at the moment.