A few months ago, Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich pulled their albums from Spotify, claiming the service was bad for new music and did not fairly compensate artists. Radiohead’s co-manager Brian Message then entered the debate, siding with Spotify. At the time, Stereogum’s Tom Breihan noted, “This one is not over yet…” And now the fight picks up again, with Yorke expanding on his statements in a new interview and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart sharing his two cents as well.
Stewart’s comments appeared in The Guardian late last week:
Thom Yorke made a mistake there, him and Nigel Godrich. They were misinformed. I think they just suddenly got a bee in their bonnet, because Spotify is one of the few companies that is transparent and actually pays properly — as a songwriter you should worship Spotify, because they’ve come along with a solution. … It’s a volume business. If [Spotify] had 100 million subscribers, which is possible, the payment [for the Eurythmics catalogue] would be equal to the band’s income back at the peak of selling.
As Consequence Of Sound points out, Mexico’s Sopitas.com coincidentally interviewed Yorke the next day and got some further thoughts on the matter. Here’s Yorke’s response to a question about mainstream music:
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.
You can listen to the full Atoms For Peace interview below.
Atoms For Peace play the Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend.