Thom Yorke has defended his position on Spotify, after he and producer Nigel Godrich took to Twitter to express their views that the streaming service was “bad for new music” before announcing that they would be pulling their material from it.
The debut album from their Atoms For Peace project has been removed from the site, as has Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser. Godrich explained his position yesterday in a series of tweets criticising the low royalty rates paid to artists – who he said received “f*ck all” from the service.
Producer Stephen Street criticised Yorke’s position, claiming that Radiohead played a role in devaluing digital music when they allowed fans to pay what they wanted for their 2007 album In Rainbows. “Bit rich coming from Thom Yorke that Spotify doesn’t work for new artists,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s exactly what I said when Radiohead made their album available for free/ pay what you want a few years back.” Street added: “Suits superstars with 10 years of EMI investment behind them. It didn’t help new upcoming artists at all. Gave the wrong message that music had no value. It’s bitten you on the arse Thom!”
Thom Yorke later responded to criticism on Twitter: “Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples,” he wrote. “‘Your small meaningless rebellion is only hurting your fans … a drop in the bucket really’ No we’re standing up for our fellow musicians.” He added: “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.”
Meanwhile, Radiohead’s co-manager Brian Message has also commented on the debate, saying that Spotify will ultimately offer artists ‘equitable remuneration”. He told the he told the BBC: “Streaming services are a new way for artists and fans to engage. As a manager of Thom I obviously sit up and take note when he says, ‘Listen guys we need to look at how this works’. It’s a healthy debate that’s going on right now…He’s rightly asking the question of, ‘What’s in this for new music and new artists?’ I think we’re all debating this. [But] as the model gets bigger I think we’ll find a place where artists and managers and all creators can all receive what they regard as equitable remuneration.”
Spotify yesterday told NME that its long-term goal is to make sure artists are properly remunerated for putting their music on the service. Radiohead albums such as The Bends, OK, Computer and Kid A are still available to stream on Spotify.