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Thom Yorke Returns To Beat Spotify With Vivid Flatulence Analogy

The Radiohead and Atoms For Peace frontman called the music-sharing site "the last fart of a dying corpse," and the music biz's attitude to creativity "bullshit."

Radiohead's Thom Yorke has waded in with his thoughts on the music sharing business once again—and the imagery ain't pretty. Interviewed by Mexican music site Sopitas, the singer and musician called the music streaming business "the last fart of a dying corpse," and said what was important for filmmakers, writers, as well as musicians—was what comes next.

"I don't even consider the mainstream to be the mainstream now," he told the interviewer. "It's like a mutation. The way people listen to music is going through this big transition and I feel that as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing... it's the last gasp of an old industry, and once that does finally die, which it will, something new will happen. What happens next, in terms of technology, how people talk to each other about music. A lot of it could be really bad.

"I don't subscribe to what some people in the industry say," he continues. "'Well, this is all we have left.' I don't agree. When we did In Rainbows, what we found was that it was a direct link between you as a musician and your audience. And then all these fuckers get in the way like Spotify trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. No artist needs you to do that, we can build this shit ourself, fuck off. Because they are using the majors, who can sell all their old stuff, make a fortune and not die. It's about the future of all music, whether we believe there is a future in music—same with the film industry, same with books. This is like a last fart of a dying corpse. What is important is the next bit."

Two months ago, the singer, along with his Atoms For Peace bandmate and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, pulled all of his songs from Spotify. The music streamer, however says it has paid up half a billion dollars to rights holders so far, with another half a billion due at the end of this year.

[Image: Flickr user radioedit]

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  • Maxwell Silverhammer

    I love Spotify! I love the fact I can pick the songs I want to "rent" and avoid all of the filler crap that occupies 50-75% of most cd's. And, when I get tired of a song, I can delete it from my playlist and add one, two, or several more. Spotify has made me a fan of music again!

  • robinkristianparker

    What Thom Yorke seems to conveniently forget every time he talks about this stuff is how EMI bankrolled Radiohead's development for several years, and effectively put them in the incredibly fortunate position they're in now. If he's suggesting an unknown act could release their own music, through their own channel, and enjoy the same success as something like In Rainbows, he's on another planet

  • bunkywu

    First of all, he IS on another planet! Have you seen the brother dance? 

    Second, he's no dummy. He knows how he got to where he is today. But the fact remains that the amount of money an artist makes through Spotify is obscenely low relative to other forms/channels. Artists and producers used to be hyper-critical of major labels when they were only making a couple cents to each album sale. But, compared to what you make through Spotify, that shitty old model looks pretty damn good. Unfortunately, nobody's buying CDs, so what's the alternative?

    I think the problem is that as consumers, we no longer expect to pay for music (let alone most forms of media and content), yet I'd like to think that we still value music as much as we did before the days of Spotify. Perhaps that's where I'm wrong. But, a decade ago, I would happily spend hundreds of dollars of my hard-earned money on recorded music each year. Today, I spend close to zero. Has my respect for these artists diminished any less? Does music have less of an impact on me today, then it did back then? I used to hate the fact that artists made next to nothing on each album I bought. Now for the majority of musicians, it's far worse.

    Even if Spotify is a volume game as the company claims, and we're only a couple years away from reaching the volume of users and subscribers they predict are needed for payments to artists to reach the same levels as before, is that something for us to be proud of? 

    At the end of the day, Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich being dogmatic about this debate can only push companies like Spotify to work harder for the interests of artists. Pending any major societal shift in how consumers value music with their wallets, artists and labels will need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of services like Spotify and recognize the tradeoffs.