Thom Yorke Compares Spotify to a Dying Man’s Fart
Radiohead and Atoms for Peace main man breaks down his beef with the service
Thom Yorke has once again taken aim at Spotify in response to a phenomenon in streaming audio that the Radiohead and Atoms for Peace frontman says is “bad for new music.” He and producer/bandmate Nigel Godrich shard their complaints 140 characters at a time via Twitter back in July, pulling their various non-Radiohead catalogs from the service in the process. But in a new entrevista with Mexico’s Sopitas, Yorke elaborates at length.
“I feel like the way people are listening to music is going through this big transition,” he begins, as Consequence of Sound reports. “I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what’s happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry.” But by the end of the quote, he finds a more colorful way to recontextualize that thought, calling Spotify “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse.”
Yorke communicates that he’s frustrated with what he sees as a prevailing attitude that “this is all we’ve got left,” in terms of options for the music industry. He explains that the old major labels are happy for Spotify because it allows them to resell old songs and albums at no cost. But his fear is that their money-holders’ preference for such services will prevent new, more artist-friendly models from emerging naturally.
Of course, Spotify has had a thing or two to say about all of this. They initially fired back with some statistics about their payouts to artists, then released a strikingly narrow study about piracy that sort of implied that they’re doing something right. Then CEO Daniel Ek elaborated in a Wall Street Journal interview, explaining that much of the frustration that artists experience is due to conflation of the ideas of “streaming” and “downloading,” which imply different valuations.
Godrich also expounded upon his thoughts to the Guardian, and then expounded upon the Guardian’s thougths about his thoughts. Whew. Anyhow, for all of Yorke’s most recent thoughts on the increasingly complicated matter, read here:
Read it all below:
“I feel like the way people are listening to music is going through this big transition. I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what’s happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen. But it’s all about how we change the way we listen to music, it’s all about what happens next in terms of technology, in terms of how people talk to each other about music, and a lot of it could be really fucking bad. I don’t subscribe to the whole thing that a lot of people do within the music industry that’s ‘well this is all we’ve got left. we’ll just have to do this.’ I just don’t agree.
When we did the In Rainbows thing what was most exciting was the idea you could have a direct connection between you as a musician and your audience. You cut all of it out, it’s just that and that. And then all these fuckers get in a way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. We don’t need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off. But because they’re using old music, because they’re using the majors… the majors are all over it because they see a way of re-selling all their old stuff for free, make a fortune, and not die. That’s why to me, Spotify the whole thing, is such a massive battle, because it’s about the future of all music. It’s about whether we believe there’s a future in music, same with the film industry, same with books.
To me this isn’t the mainstream, this is is like the last fart, the last desperate fart of a dying corpse. What happens next is the important part.”