Thom Yorke

Taylor Swift, Steve Albini, Spotify, and the Fruitless Quest for a Music Industry Savior

If you ever need a reminder that all those rose-tinted remembrances of the pre-internet music industry do not account for the full story, look no further than Steve Albini’s seminal 1993 essay for The Baffler. It’s called, simply, “The Problem With Music.” In it, Albini details the flaws of the major-label music system in actual numbers and simple math — something that’s not done often enough in trade and consumer publications alike when it comes to how musicians actually make their money. … Read More

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Taylor Swift Pulling Her Music from Spotify Isn’t About Unfair Terms — It’s Because She Can

Three years ago, just as The Black Keys were in the midst of ascending to their current arena-rock status, the duo did something kind of groundbreaking for a mid-level major label band: they said “thanks but no thanks” to Spotify. It was a strategy their manager, Q Prime’s John Peets, told me they’d be monitoring through the record cycle for 2011’s El Camino. Based on the fact that the band’s No. 1 album Turn Blue, released this past May, does not appear on the streaming behemoth, I’m left to believe the strategy worked for them. Financial outcome aside, the Black Keys bellyached all over the place about Spotify’s unjustly low royalty rates, to the extent that I chuckle when I see what it says on their Spotify page: “The artist or their representatives have decided not to release this album on Spotify. We are working on it and hope they will change their mind soon.” … Read More

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Alternate Routes: Thom Yorke, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Tuareg “Purple Rain”

Alternate Routes is a column from Flavorwire contributor and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow, in which he provides maps to far-flung music, exploring sounds distributed solely outside the Big 3 of Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.

Perhaps Spotify’s most grievous sin against music, besides its royalty rates, is how boring it is. Besides sales revenues, fidelity, and production credits, the streaming service makes albums feel as if they were trapped inside a listening station at the mall, or worse. There is the paucity of metadata that shuffles long discographies by corporate licensing dates, erasing albums outside the company’s territorial agreements, and deeming artists’ histories as irrelevant to their precious content. In terms of providing hot-and-cold running audio for the regions of the world covered by the relevant sub-clauses, Spotify is a miraculous utility, but is as divorced from real-life musical networks as a glass of water is from a rainstorm. … Read More

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The Best Quotes From Iggy Pop’s “Free Music in a Capitalist Society” BBC Lecture

That’s Prof Pop to you! In addition to his BBC Radio 6 DJ post over the last year, the Godfather of Punk delivered BBC Music’s annual John Peel Lecture Tuesday night (October 13) in an hour-long presentation at the Lowry theater in Salford, Manchester. His topic — “Free Music In a Capitalist Society” — was a fascinating one, particularly for a musical icon who has moved in and out of DIY and commercial realms for much of his career, eventually having little shame over licensing “Lust For Life” to a Carnival Cruise commercial (among other ads). “If I want to make money, well, how about selling car insurance?” he postured. “At least I’m honest. It’s an ad, and that’s all it is. If I had to depend on what I actually get from sales, I’d be tending bars between sets.” … Read More

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No, Thom Yorke’s ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’ Won’t Reinvent the Music Biz Through BitTorrent

“Thom Yorke hates Spotify” is one of the first Google auto-fills that pop up for me when I enter the Radiohead frontman’s name. I can’t say I remember ever googling that particular phrase, perhaps because I know it to be a fact. The series of tweets he rattled off about music’s most popular streaming service, along with frequent producer and Atoms For Producer bandmate Nigel Godrich, have become beef as classic as a Big Mac. Still, Yorke really did put his money where his mouth is when he removed portions of his discography (Atoms for Peace’s AMOK and his 2006 solo debut, The Eraser) from the streaming service. … Read More

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Thom Yorke Has A New Album, ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’

Thom Yorke just announced — and released — a new album, entitled Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. You can download it immediately right here… Read More

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Musicians Drinking the Spotify Haterade: The Collected Complaints

Since Spotify’s stateside introduction three years ago, musicians  have expressed their disdain for the streaming service and its laughably low royalty rates (between $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream). A number of artists, mostly those in the privileged positions of having already established a fanbase, have pulled their music from the service, or in the case of legacy artists, blocked it from ever being streamed there. Spotify, in addition to other streaming music services like Pandora, led David Byrne to suggest that, “The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left.” The Talking Heads leader is far from the only open opponent of streaming. Let’s take a look at a few others with harsh words for Spotify, a service that claims to have paid out a billion dollars in royalties but still draws constant ire. … Read More

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How Spotify Became the McDonald’s of the Music Industry

Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich caused quite a stir last week by pulling their music off Spotify, demanding that the service pay more to up-and-coming musicians. The thing is, however, that Spotify is already losing money hand over fist, despite expanding its user base dramatically over the last couple of years and only paying out pitifully small per-stream fees to artists. If Spotify can’t make things work paying artists these pissant royalties — and the consensus seems to be that it can’t — then it’s got a problem, especially if the slow trickle of artists moving away from the service starts to speed up and/or emerging artists decide that it’s not worth the time or effort to essentially give away their music for free via the site. So, is Spotify doomed? … Read More

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