Quoted: Radiohead’s Thom Yorke pulls music from Spotify in latest music vs. tech row

“Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no[t] get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it.”

Thom Yorke, lead singer for Radiohead, on Twitter. Yorke has pulled a couple of albums from music-streaming service Spotify and Rdio. Nigel Godrich, music producer for Radiohead, also tweeted: “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.”

Spotify told TechCrunch it has “already paid $500 million to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach $1 billion. Much of this money is being invested in nurturing new talent and producing great new music.” The company, whose headquarters is in London, also said it is “constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers.”

Godrich called the move “a small meaningless rebellion,” but if more artists do the same it could affect subscriptions. He retweeted a fan who said: “Just so @Spotify knows, if more of my favorite artists like @nigelgod @thomyorke keep dropping off, my $10/month will no longer be justified.” Spotify offers a free ad-supported service but charges for its ad-free and mobile offerings.

All this is a familiar tune as the music industry copes with new ways of music distribution. As we wrote last month, Pink Floyd spoke out against Internet radio provider Pandora, accusing it of “tricking” musicians to gather support for proposed legislation that would reduce the royalties the Oakland company has to pay. Pandora, which is fighting to pay the same royalties as terrestrial radio stations, responded that the artists are being misled by the recording industry.

In other news at the intersection of tech and music, Bloomberg Businessweek writes about New York startup Audam, which is helping artists make money when their songs are used in YouTube videos.


Photo: Thom Yorke performed at Outside Lands in San Francisco in 2008. (Bay Area News Group archives)


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  • jessica spurling

    Wow, this is timely – I just discovered Thom Yorke’s solo music on Spotify about a week ago, and I have been liking it a lot. I’ve recently come to rely on Spotify to help me discover new music I like and also find out when artists I like are playing in my area. If his music hadn’t been on Spotify, I wouldn’t have known about it. I don’t know the details of how much money an artist gets when we listen to them on Spotify, but for sure he will miss out on new fans and attendees at shows by pulling his music from Spotify. Is it worth it?