YouTube and Spotify are “Stealing the Art” Says Thom Yorke

Radiohead frontman takes a shot at the big business of digital music

In a recent interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Thom Yorke spoke about the current state of digital music discovery and did not mince words. While many publications are focussing on the comparison he made between the mega-music companies and Nazi Germany (presumably to drive up engagement and clicks) it’s also noteworthy that his reference was only regarding the Nazi’s appropriation of art during WWII.

Asked how musicians can make money from music, Yorke responded:

“I don’t have the solution to these problems. I only know that they’re making money with the work of loads of artists who don’t get any benefit from it. People continue to say that this is an era where music is free, cinema is free. It’s not true. The creators of services make money – Google, YouTube. A huge amount of money, by trawling, like in the sea – they take everything there is. ‘Oh, sorry, was that yours? Now it’s ours. No, no, we’re joking – it’s still yours’. They’ve seized control of it – it’s like what the Nazis did during the second world war. Actually, it’s like what everyone was doing during the war, even the English – stealing the art of other countries. What difference is there?”

Yorke also talked about an app used to block YouTube ads:

“The funny thing is that YouTube has said ‘that’s not fair…They say it’s not fair – the people who put adverts in front of any piece of content, making a load of money, while artists don’t get paid or are paid laughable amounts – and that seems fine to them.”

He also went on to applaud David Byrne, who recently spoke out against Spotify: “When Byrne sided against Spotify it was a relief for me. Finally, I’m not the only one to say ‘Hey, excuse me, it’s not fair that it works like this.

What do you think of Yorke’s comments?

Oh and this also happened this week.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke DJs at London's Climate March

Great atmosphere at the #ClimateMarch in London. **Turn your audio up!**Radiohead's Thom Yorke DJs as tens of thousands of people march through the streets – calling for strong climate action. #COP21 #PeoplesMarch

Posted by Greenpeace UK on Sunday, November 29, 2015