It’s Spotify’s fifth birthday today, with the streaming service having first launched on 7 October 2008. Making it to five years is an achievement in itself for a modern digital music startup, but Spotify’s party may be pooped a little by Thom Yorke, who’s renewed his attack on the company in an interview with Mexican site Sopitas.

Expect to see the killer line – “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse” – quoted widely over the next day or so. It’s Yorke’s longest interview yet outlining his opposition to Spotify, and while it won’t make easy listening for that company, it does crystallise the ongoing debate over streaming’s value for artists.

“I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing,” he says, citing Radiohead’s In Rainbows album as an example of the band cutting out industry middlemen. “And then all these fuckers get in the way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. We don’t need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off.”

Here’s the relevant segment of the interview:

It’s tempting to point out that Yorke’s Atoms for Peace still work with a middleman – Beggars Group subsidiary XL Recordings, whose parent company has been publicly supportive of Spotify and streaming, with chairman Martin Mills – nobody’s idea of a fucker getting in the way – saying earlier this year that 22% of the label group’s digital revenues in 2012 came from streaming.

Meanwhile indie trade body Merlin has talked about independent artists over-indexing for market share on streaming services – both signs that there’s more to Spotify than the shoring-up mechanism for major labels’ back catalogues that Yorke sees it as.

But as an artist, Yorke isn’t obliged to agree with his label over streaming, just as fellow XL artist Adele wasn’t obliged to make her last album available to stream until considerably after its CD and download release.

Spotify has many challenges ahead in its next five years, but making a convincing case for its value to all music – not just the big artists and major labels – in response to the criticism from Thom Yorke and others, will be one of its priorities.

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1 Comment

  1. this is sad, no.. not just sad, but its something that I feel will do more harm to Old Man Yorke and his image than anything.
    Art is for the people, and the people want to sift through countless bands to discover what they hold near and dear to their hearts, on their time and space. there is no place for the likes who do not understand these new rules.
    there is no place for the men and women who made millions off 20 dollars CD’s that the youth would reluctantly pay for by stealing change out of their parents pockets or not eat school lunches for a month to listen to be able to afford 10 tracks made by some guys from Oxford.
    this is now a time of excess for us, we are the ones who now live in excess with our overwhelming selections of music on the likes of spotify, we are the ones who can sit back and enjoy the endless mixes that our friends are making so we can check out the next band and if the next band move us enough, then we will go out and see them live and in concert, but the moment they no longer please us, we will say goodbye and move on to the next, and believe me Mr. Yorke there are many, many who would love the chance to entertain us. We are now the kings and the people who are brave enough to send their music our way will be our jesters.
    life is so unfair, especially if you are amongst the likes of a multi millionaire who hails from the days where airplay on MTV actually meant something. Mr. Yorke you have become a dinosaur and all of us who notice that you are a dinosaur are too busy listening to all the people you influenced.
    we were here for you, we loved you and we hung on your every word, as ridiculous and mumbled as it was.. now your words are nothing but words that are spewing out of a mouth that your hands stuff with caviar and champagne… but in the end the people have the last laugh, in the end we decide wether or not you are relevant and right now Mr. Yorke, you are not relevant.

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