Thom Yorke vs. Spotify

What I like most is the tweet from MusicAlly:

What kind of crazy, fucked up world do we live in where artists are so ignorant, so behind the curve, so out of solutions that they rail against a platform that hasn’t gotten any traction anyway?

Streaming won. Kids watch music on YouTube. Over.

Furthermore, there’s no money in music for anyone but the owners of catalogs because individual acts just can’t get enough traction. We can ignore not only Rihanna, but Dave Grohl and Radiohead too. Oh, the fawning press makes it seem like these acts are important and universal, changing the face of American culture, but the truth is if you’ve heard all three, you’re part of a tiny minority paying attention, everybody else is salivating over new smartphones and the software they contain.

Yup, Steve Jobs kills the floppy, and Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich want to jet us back to the past.

Spotify gives 70% of the revenues to rightsholders. The exact same amount rendered by iTunes. What’s the problem? That they pay you over time instead of right now? Afraid that no one will listen to your music in the future? Then you’d better make it really damn good, or create tchotchkes people are dying to own, because the old slap together ten tracks to sell for ten bucks paradigm is so toast, it’s stale and in the garbage.

Once upon a time musicians used to lead. Now all they can say is GIVE ME BACK MY PAST! As for saving the future for the new artists… I’d feel better if the new artists created their own paradigm, but instead we’ve got wannabes too dumb to do anything for themselves. Want to neuter the power of the old gatekeepers, implore acts not to sign with majors. But no, Yorke and Godrich would rather rail against the present, unaware that it’s already history. Making Spotify the enemy is akin to the RIAA scapegoating Napster. What happened after they closed Napster? It got WORSE! There was  KaZaA and Limewire. Do Yorke and Godrich like Whac-A-Mole that much that they want to fire up the arcade when the game is just about worn out?

Yup, P2P theft is too much trouble. You know what made me stop stealing? Spotify. And for young kids, YouTube. The legal way is much more convenient. This was what was supposed to happen, this was the promise of tech, finally the rightsholders are ahead of the consumers, but in this case they’re ahead of the acts too!

How much money did it take to create the cell or cable systems. And with mobile phones, it took almost two decades for people to realize they had to have one. That’s progress. You invest now for rewards later. If you think record labels believe in this paradigm you believe Doug Morris owns Sony Music… But Doug’s just an employee inured to short term profits like the rest of the corporate titans. As for those vaunted new acts Yorke and Godrich are referencing…they want instant profits too! And are usually so bad they don’t deserve any attention.

The truth is, if you’re a superstar, there’s still plenty of money in music. And superstars are the future, because no one’s got time for any less. Just like there’s one iTunes Store, one Amazon and one Google, we don’t need a plethora of me-too acts, we just need excellence.

Don’t musicians get it? If you want to survive in the future, you need solutions.

Want a solution for recorded music? Create a site with everything and get everybody to pay. Cell phone companies don’t say you can’t call your grandma, but you can’t listen to AC/DC and the Beatles and now Atoms For Peace on Spotify. Metallica and the Eagles got the memo, they’re now living in the future, but the aforementioned trio and the rest of the Luddites, they believe if they hold their music back they can stem the tide of the future, the same way the lack of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin and the Beatles killed the iTunes Store. Huh? They put a dent in it not a whit!

Will Spotify win?

Who knows, Iovine’s MOG/Daisy may replace it. Or the interim might be iTunes Radio, with the public too cheap to pay for access for the moment. But the future is definitely not paying a bunch of money up front for songs you’ve never heard. Can’t get anybody but diehard fans to do that now. And only Yorke and Godrich’s diehard fans care about their misguided removal of their music from Spotify. Everybody else shrugs and moves right along, if the news even reaches them.

In Scandinavian countries the lion’s share of the revenue IS Spotify, IS streaming. There’s nowhere to buy a CD. Is that Spotify’s fault? Did Spotify kill the CD, the album and the record shop? No, the public did, by embracing new technology, and now they’ve all gone to streaming and the crybaby acts keep lamenting the passage of the past the same way buggy whip makers and typewriter constructors did and died.

To quote the great bard Dylan, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

9 Responses to Thom Yorke vs. Spotify


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  1. […] AC/DC. The thing is, this move isn’t going to propel any more sales of their album, and as Bob Lefsetz points out, this move isn’t going to do anything to change the system. As Lefsetz puts it – this […]

  2. […] As my friend Bob Lefsetz recently said: “Streaming won.” […]

  3. Pingback by Thom Yorke: Crusader or Crybaby? | Superhype | 2013/07/24 at 09:19:36

    […] a streaming service that has given listeners a credible alternative to illegal downloading. As Lefestz wrote, “Once upon a time musicians used to lead. Now all they can say is GIVE ME BACK MY PAST! As […]

  4. […] As my friend Bob Lefsetz recently said: “Streaming won.” […]

  5. Pingback by Alison Lamb: Why Streaming still matters – midemblog | 2013/08/12 at 00:20:49

    […] quote Bob Lefsetz: “Streaming won. Kids watch music on YouTube”. We just all need to get on with […]

  6. […] Thom Yorke vs Spotify […]

  7. Pingback by Music Streaming: The Haves and the Have-Nots | Superhype | 2013/08/27 at 15:28:17

    […] you read it. (For a dissenting view, I would also recommend two posts by Bob Lefsetz, “Thom Yorke vs. Spotify” and “Spotify?“). I don’t believe the solution to inadequate streaming […]

  8. Pingback by Streaming Music Hullabalo | Jungle Physicians | 2013/10/17 at 15:55:37

    […] Lefsetz chimes in: Lefsetz Letter […]

  9. Pingback by The Streaming Debate With David Byrne + | Beats Music Now | 2014/04/23 at 16:56:03

    […] Spotify on Twitter. ● 07-15-2013, Bob Lefsetz weighs in with a strong opinion for streaming: Thom Yorke vs. Spotify. ● 10-07-2013, more Thom Yorke against streaming – also, the complete interview in spanish here. […]

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