Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples.
— Thom Yorke (@thomyorke) July 14, 2013
Thom Yorke took to Twitter over the weekend to harangue music-streaming service Spotify over the low rates it pays musicians for the rights to stream their music. The Radiohead frontman — who knows a thing or two about successful digital music distribution — is responding to the low rates, which amount to fractions of a cent every time a song is played, by taking his ball and going home, removing his songs from the service. That means fans will not longer be able to listen to Yorke collaboration Atoms for Peace or his solo album The Eraser on Spotify.
Yorke and his producer Nigel Godrich, who has pulled tracks by his band Ultraista from Spotify as well, acknowledge that the move is a small, meaningless rebellion but it’s not for their own sakes. Yorke has been a bonafide rock star for decades at this point and Godrich has produced albums for the likes of Paul McCartney. They’re not going to starve, no matter how little Spotify pays them. Both musicians, though, expressed concern that the micro-royalties paid by services like Spotify can’t sustain new artists who are struggling to get their feet — and who are key to the success of services like Spotify and its competitors. If those tiny payments become the new normal, it could get even harder for musicians to make their livings making music.
- We can safely say that yes, Thom Yorke’s music is sad
- Meanwhile, some songs are making tons of royalties unfairly
- These guys would make no money from Spotify’s current payment structure