Last April, Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich of Atoms For Peace/Radiohead fame had some touching relationship advice for teenage girls, now the pair have some far more scathing advice for music streaming service Spotify and what they see as a business model that pays artists “fuck all.”
The Atoms For Peace album Amok and its spiritual predecessor, Thom Yorke’s solo debut The Eraser, along with the self-titled debut from Godrich’s band, Ultraísta, were all pulled from the popular streaming service in protest, as Pitchfork reports.
Though all three are available for streaming on the Australian version of Spotify (for the time being), Godrich explained the (international) removal of the music in a series of tweets:
The reason is that new artists get paid fuck all with this model.. It's an equation that just doesn't work
— nigel godrich (@nigelgod) July 14, 2013
Thom Yorke backed up his long-term producer, collaborator, and Atoms For Peace bandmate in the Spotify boycott; the Radiohead frontman writing:
Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no get paid. meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples.
— Thom Yorke (@thomyorke) July 14, 2013
“The music industry is being taken over by the back door… and if we don’t try and make it fair for new music producers and artists… then the art will suffer. Make no mistake. These are all the same old industry bods trying to get a stranglehold on the delivery system…
The numbers don’t even add up for Spotify yet… But it’s not about that… It’s about establishing the model which will be extremely valuable. Meanwhile small labels and new artists can’t even keep their lights on. It’s just not right. Plus people are scared to speak up or not take part as they are told they will lose invaluable exposure if they don’t play ball.
The long-term producer and member laments that the streaming service business model suits artists with a back catalogue or established career, but “cannot work as a way of supporting new artists work.” Continuing to write:
Pink Floyd’s catalogue has already generated billions of dollars for someone (not necessarily the band) so now putting it on a streaming site makes total sense. But if people had been listening to Spotify instead of buying records in 1973… I doubt very much if [Dark Side of the Moon] would have been made… It would just be too expensive.”
Speaking of Pink Floyd, the British music legends similarly took issue with the poor royalty rates of streaming services, part of a collegiate of musicians united in slamming internet radio platform Pandora in an open letter over their low payment policies. Joining Pink Floyd and now Atoms For Peace in taking music streaming services to task is US-based songwriter and Cracker frontman, David Lowery, who recently revealed the pittance he received to the number of streams of his music.
According to Lowery, for over one million plays of Cracker’s song ‘Low’, as songwriter all he got paid was a measly $16.89. To be fair, Lowery only owns 40% of the song but even then Pandora would only have paid $42.23 for the right to play the song one million times to its users.
Pandora isn’t alone when it comes to alarmingly low royalty cheques either. Lowery’s song got played 116,260 times on Spotify for which he received $12.05, and 152,900 times on Youtube, for which he received $1.95.