Spotify is “Last desperate fart of a dying corpse” says Thom Yorke

image from 2a56b976980e0793ddee-5cc5435fcbc367bb03f9a415e7067a97.r91.cf2.rackcdn.comThom Yorke of Radiohead and Atoms For Peace has always been vocal about his dislike of Spotify. Earlier this year he pulled his solo album and the AFP debut from the service and took every opportunity to rail against the payment structure ininterviews and tweets. But his distaste reached new heights in an interview with Mexico's Sopitas.

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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.

Listen to the full interview here via Consequences of Sound.

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  1. I do agree with what he’s saying about gatekeepers, old music industry, etc.. but all streaming services are doing is offering something that people want. You can stop technology.

  2. It makes no sense. If all artists could sell direct to fans, why should Spotify be a problem for that?
    The usage of music would be much worse if every fan needed to go to a specific artistpage, signup and download/stream every time a music fan wants to hear something new music. Yorke have a few points, but mostly looking like an old dinosaur.

  3. Pretty sure we dont want to be in a world where the artists is also the technologist, marketing and salesperson. It’s like asking the farmers to sell direct to consumers. Sure some do; However, that’s a model doesn’t work on the scale that we consume music or food for that matter.

  4. What is needed is something like that (sorry in French) :
    That is a clear role separation between “personal bookshelves holder”(disco, video, etc shelves, and as references, not “cloud for copies”) on one side, and creators, authors, editors, shops on the other.
    And with the ability to move from one account holder to another, in order for any trust relationship being possible regarding confidentiality.
    That is a true non monopolistic “atawad”(any time any where any device) environment.
    As to the evrything subscription based to catalogs (spotify model), it indeed truly sucks.

  5. ….. says Thom York who is still creaming thousands of pounds in streaming royalties from the Radiohead back catalogue that’s on Spotify!

  6. I am a 100% DIY artist/label and my monthly Spotify payout is about 200-300% of what I used to get with iTunes, so no complaints here. Those of us who control our own catalogs and fan relationships benefit the most from Spotify.

  7. I have a lot of respect for Yorke as a musician but his all-consuming hatred of Spotify is making him look a little bit silly.
    @Justice Aaron. Just went to look for Metaform on Spotify and realised I had already added your albums as playlists with “And Shine” as a favourite! Great stuff.

  8. That’s how you end up with mad cow, chicken “processed” in china, apple juice from china, poison baby formula and pet food and “calamari” made from pig bung (that’s the arse whole). Maybe we should all consider “consuming” less and choosing better quality. Buy local, go out and support a local band, support your community. The global economy and technology have given us the ability to be ripped off and poisoned by people from all over the globe. So you get a little cheap music, will it be worth it when entire industries collapse? How do you expect musicians to make a living? Spotfy? Youtube? Ticket saes? How many peopke reading this have made a living on ticket and merch sales…let’s take a poll. Buyer beware, you’re voting with those dollars. The new thing is the cloud and subscription fees, software and even hardware is updated so often that you never own anything of value. We are all being turned into surfs to a handful of large companies.

  9. Thank you for that perspective! As a Spotify user, I only considered it a great convienence to have so much music available to me without filling up my technology’s memory. As a loyal fan of local music and small artists, I about gagged when I read the article and feared that I was contributing to the demise of artist autonomy or livelihood. I also hate the thought of a giant corporation making an ignorant sheep out of me at the same time it is robbing the rights of musicians.

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