Radiohead's Thom Yorke Hates Spotify

By Joseph Giannone 2013-10-04 08:16:38
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The music industry has been in a sea of change over the past ten years. Since downloading became a thing, music sales have steadily dropped and consumers have made it clear that they’d rather electronically download their music instead of buying CDs. Even though the music industry is still changing, online steaming programs like Spotify have helped record labels gain some sort of power back in their market.

As Pop Blend’s Jessica Rawden points out, “with growth in areas like Apple’s iTunes and services like Spotify, the music industry might continue to move forward.” Even Daft Punk's song Get Lucky broke Spotify streaming records, helping the song become the summer's break-out hit. The music industry needed something like Spotify to aid their ever worsening record sales, and now they're certainly happy with the outcome. Although, not everybody in the music industry is pleased. In a recent interview with Sopitas.com , Radiohead front man Thom Yorke said “I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing.” Why did he say that? Well, to find out, read his full statement below:

“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.


As someone who is an avid user of Spotify, and fully supports the change in business tactics of the record industry, I disagree with Thom Yorke on this issue. Sure, Spotify is helping record labels grasp its last breath from their dying industry, but the streaming service is also providing an easy, and legal way for consumers to listen to music without buying CD’s. I’m all for that. The Radiohead front man brings up some valid points, because his band was providing alternative ways to receive music way before Spotify was around, but I feel like he’s just one of the soldiers protesting against the war he’s helped create.

Now, I’m not saying that Yorke and his band are a part of the problem, but rather, he shouldn’t be as against Spotify as much as he is. For instance, the online streaming service has helped me and many other music consumers find bands we would not have known about unless we spent hours surfing the web, and in my case, listen to discographies from groups like Pink Floyd and The Who I would not have been able to unless I illegally downloaded them. To each his own I guess, but this music blogger supports Spotify and all its music streaming goodness.
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