Radiohead star Thom Yorke and the band’s ‘six member’, producer Nigel Godrich, have hit out at Spotify‘s model, which they say does not pay artists fairly – and pulled some of their catalogue from the service.
The news is in contrast to Spotify’s recent success with convincing ‘hold-out’ artists to join its service – the catalogues of Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Metallica have all landed on the service in the last year.
The debut album from Yorke and Godrich’s new band, Atoms For Peace’s AMOK (2013), has been removed from Spotify alongside Yorke’s solo effort The Eraser (2006). Godrich’s solo LP Ultraista (2012) has also gone, with Radiohead’s In Rainbows (2007) also missing.
However, classic Radiohead albums such as The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A – released on EMI before the band left the major – remain on Spotify.
Godrich explained in a series of tweets: “We’re off of Spotify. Can’t do that no more man – small meaningless rebellion. Someone gotta say something. It’s bad for new music.. The reason is that new artists get paid fuck all with this model.. It’s an equation that just doesn’t work.
“The music industry is being taken over by the back door and if we don’t try and make it fair for new music producers and artists then the art will suffer. Make no mistake. These are all the same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold on the delivery system.
“The numbers don’t even add up for spotify yet.. But it’s not about that.. It’s about establishing the model which will be extremely valuable. Meanwhile small labels and new artists can’t even keep their lights on. It’s just not right.
“Plus people are scared to speak up or not take part as they are told they will lose invaluable exposure if they don’t play ball. Meanwhile, millions of streams gets them a few thousand dollars, not like radio at all.
“Anyway, thems the breaks. Opinions welcome, but discussion and new thinking necessary. If you have a massive catalogue – a major label, for example, then you’re quids in. It’s money for old rope.
“But making new recorded music needs funding. Some records can be made [on] a laptop, but some need musician and skilled technicians. These things cost money. Pink Floyd’s catalogue has already generated billions of dollars for someone(not necessarily the band) so now putting it on a streaming site makes total sense. But if people had been listening to spotify instead of buying records in 1973. I doubt very much if dark side would have been made. It would just be too expensive.
“I think the point is – that streaming suits catalogue.. But cannot work as a way of supporting new artists work.. Spotify and the like either have to address that fact and change the model for new releases or else all new music producers should be bold and vote with their feet. They have no power without new music.”
Thom Yorke backed Godrich’s position, adding: “Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will not get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples.”
Responding to criticism from the likes of Stephen Street, who suggested that Radiohead’s decision to offer In Rainbows to fans for a ‘pay what you like’ price devalued the industry, Yorke said: “For me In Rainbows was a statement of trust .people still value new music. That’s all we’d like from Spotify – don’t make us the target.”Music Business Worldwide