On Spotify's Fifth Birthday, Radiohead's Thom Yorke Calls It a "Fart"

By Gerald Lynch on at

After five short years on this planet, Spotify's managed what was once thought impossible, legitimising the music streaming business model and turning a generation of dyed-in-the-wool pirates into legal, paid-for music fans. But there's no pleasing some people, as Radiohead's Thom Yorke has once again attacked the service, and on its fifth birthday to boot.

Calling Spotify "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse" in an interview with Mexican website Sopitas, Yorke is still skeptical over Spotify's ability to support up-and-coming bands.

"I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what's happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen," said Yorke.

"But it's all about how we change the way we listen to music, it's all about what happens next in terms of technology, in terms of how people talk to each other about music, and a lot of it could be really fucking bad."

Yorke is no stranger to unconventional approaches to the sale of music, with Radiohead's 2007 In Rainbows offered up to fans on a pay-what-you-want basis. For Yorke, part of the problem is Spotify's close relationship with the (once-equally-skeptical) major labels, who Yorke sees as the defenders of a now-obsolete business model -- something Spotify is helping to preserve.

"When we did the In Rainbows thing what was most exciting was the idea you could have a direct connection between you as a musician and your audience. You cut all of it out, it's just that and that. And then all these fuckers get in a way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process," said Yorke.

"We don't need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off. But because they're using old music, because they're using the majors… the majors are all over it because they see a way of re-selling all their old stuff for free, make a fortune, and not die."

In Spotify's defence, the service continues to post increasing revenues, leading to larger payouts to rights holders. Spotify paid out £312 million by the end of 2012, with the same figure expected this year. For now however, Yorke remains unconvinced, with his latest musical project Atoms For Peace staying off of Spotify for the foreseeable future. [Sopitas via The Guardian]

Image Credit: Atoms for Peace from Shutterstock.com