Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich Reject Spotify: ‘Bad For New Music’


Atoms For Peace, the band featuring producer Nigel Godrich and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea alongside Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, has removed their music from Spotify, claiming that that the streaming service is “bad for new music”.

Nigel Godrich posted an explanation in short bursts on Twitter over the weekend, explaining that he believes the system is run by the “same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold”. “The reason is that new artists get paid fuck all with this model. It’s an equation that just doesn’t work,” Godrich wrote. “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. 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.”

Atoms For Peace released their debut album ‘Amok’ on February 25. Thom Yorke expressed his support for the position with a series of retweeted selections, and a few comments of his own:

“Some records can be made in a laptop,” Nigel continued, “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.”

Backlash from listeners was met with swift correction, as claims of greed poured in:

In addition to Amok’s removal, Godrich has also removed his band Ultraista’s (tremendously good) debut album from Spotify while Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser has disappeared as well. 

Godrich went on to explain that for established megastars, streaming is beneficial. But new artists suffer in the process, and cannot gain any foothold. “I think the point is – that streaming suits catalogue,” he explained, “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.”

Quick to reply, Spotify released a statement Monday morning in response:

Spotify’s goal is to grow a service which people love, ultimately want to pay for, and which will provide the financial support to the music industry necessary to invest in new talent and music. We want to help artists connect with their fans, find new audiences, grow their fan base and make a living from the music we all love. 

“Right now we’re still in the early stages of a long-term project that’s already having a hugely positive effect on artists and new music. We’ve already paid US$500m to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach US$1bn. Much of this money is being invested in nurturing new talent and producing great new music.

“We’re 100 per cent committed to making Spotify the most artist-friendly music service possible, and are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers.”


As the streaming debate rages on, Yorke has touched on future plans for Radiohead in an interview with actor Daniel Craig for Interview magazine. “God, I so wish I had a plan,” Thom confessed with a laugh. “The only plan that we’ve had recently was to take a year off, which was something that Ed [O’Brien] wanted to do. Ed wanted to go live somewhere else and switch off. Just like, ‘Hey, how about we have 12 months where we don’t commit to anything at all?’ – which is an interesting prospect.”

Yorke added: “They’re all doing bits and bobs. Jonny has his film stuff as usual, which he really enjoys. Phil [Selway] is doing a record. I just can’t ever stop. Even if I stop, I’m very excited about the idea of someone saying to me, ‘How about you go do something for a few weeks?’ Even if it’s only for a couple of days, it’s like, ‘Yeah, great,’ because there’s always this mountain of unfinished chords and ideas and words. It’s always exciting because if everything else is going to shit, I’ve always got that.”

By the sound of it, while we may not see much action from Radiohead in the near future, there is always a rich sediment bed to pull from when the gears begin turning again. 


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