Thom Yorke’s statement will have hit Spotify’s PR team like a knife to the chest. The well-respected musician pulled his music off the streaming service, condemning its practice, specifically the payment to artists, which Yorke says works for the shareholders but not for the musical talent.
Thom Yorke doing his thing in Manchester
Nigel Godrich, Radiohead producer and member of Atoms For Peace, sent out a series of Tweets attacking Spotify. He wrote: “We’re off of Spotify. It’s bad for new music. The reason is that new artists get paid f**k all with this model. It’s an equation that just doesn’t work.” Yorke added: “Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it. Simples.” The singer said he was “standing up for our fellow musicians.”
Yorke’s status in the music industry means people will sit up and take notice of this. Considered by some to be a joke, his days with Radiohead have basically secured him a place in the annals of musical gods. Should people take notice though? Stephen Street thinks not. “Bit rich coming from Thom Yorke that Spotify doesn't work for new artists. It’s exactly what I said when Radiohead made their album available for free/ pay what you want a few years back,” the award-winning producer of Blur and The Smiths tweeted. “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!”
Will Thom Yorke's words change peoples' opinions?
Spotify pay their artists £0.4p per stream – that means if someone manages to get one million streams on the service, they stand to earn £3,800. You can see Yorke’s point when you look at it like that, but his decision for people to pay as little as they want does devalue his current Spotify status.