Thom Yorke Spotify criticism: Top producer accuses Radiohead singer of Twitter hypocrisy

Stephen Street says Yorke's band devalued digital music when they made their seventh album pay-what-you-like

Thom Yorke has been accused of hypocrisy after pulling his music from Spotify in a dispute over how much the music streaming service pays out to artists in royalties.

The Radiohead frontman has withdrawn his solo recordings and those with his group Atoms For Peace from Spotify, after accusing the service, which has 25 million active users, of operating in the interests of shareholders not musicians.

Spotify, which offers unlimited access to 20 million songs if subscribers pay monthly fees of either £5 or £10, pays artists as little as 0.4p per stream – a song with one million plays would earn its performer just £3,800.

Yorke backed Nigel Godrich, Radiohead producer and member of Atoms For Peace, who issued a series of Tweets attacking Spotify.

Godrich wrote: “We’re off of Spotify. It’s bad for new music. The reason is that new artists get paid f**k all with this model. It’s an equation that just doesn’t work.”

Yorke added: “Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it. Simples.” The singer said he was “standing up for our fellow musicians.”

But Yorke’s stance produced a riposte from Stephen Street, the award-winning producer of Blur and The Smiths. Street said Radiohead had played their role in devaluing digital music by allowing fans to download their In Rainbows album for free in 2007.

Street, who produced Blur’s Parklife album, said on Twitter: “Bit rich coming from Thom Yorke that Spotify doesn't work for new artists. It’s exactly what I said when Radiohead made their album available for free/ pay what you want a few years back.

“Suits superstars with 10 years of EMI investment behind them. It didn’t help new upcoming artists at all. Gave the wrong message that music had no value. It’s bitten you on the arse Thom!”

Atoms For Peace’s AMOK (2013) and Yorke’s solo effort The Eraser (2006) have been removed from Spotify. But classic Radiohead albums including OK Computer, which Godrich worked on, remain on the service under a previous licensing deal with EMI.

Godrich argued that artists are “scared” of the consequences if they fail to sign up to Spotify, which last month secured a coup by signing up Pink Floyd’s back catalogue and is currently finalising a rights deal with another holdout, Oasis.

Whilst Spotify benefits established artists with a large back catalogue which has already recouped its investment in recording costs, Godrich said that artists on independent labels could no longer afford to make a living when “millions of streams gets them a few thousand dollars.”

Spotify said that its goal was to “provide the financial support to the music industry necessary to invest in new talent and music.”

A spokesman said: “We’ve already paid $500m to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach $1bn. Much of this money is being invested in nurturing new talent and producing new great music.” The company hopes Yorke and Godrich will agree to discuss their concerns in person.

Daniel Ek, Spotify co-founder, said that streaming new tracks often generated a greater revenue for artists than downloads. Jay-Z and Daft Punk had given their latest music to Spotify ahead of its official release date and not suffered any reduction in paid-for downloads.

Yorke and Godrich warned that Spotify represented “the same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold on the delivery system.” Universal, Sony and Warner Music are shareholders in the company, which is valued at $3 billion and has denied reports that it will soon be considering a flotation.

Industry insiders said Yorke may be at a financial disadvantage since he releases his music through the independent label XL Recordings. Independent artists claim that the major labels negotiated a higher royalty rate from Spotify when they agreed to licence their catalogue to the Swedish platform, which launched in 2008.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor