Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich’s group Atoms For Peace has pulled its record from Spotify, with Godrich claiming the site is “bad for new music.” Yorke tweeted that the decision was “simples [sic],” saying that “new artists you discover on Spotify will no [sic] get paid” and that “meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it.” Godrich—who also yanked music from his other band, Ultraista—was chattier on his Twitter account, noting that:
“It’s an equation that just doesn’t work. 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…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. 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. Millions of streams gets them a few thousand dollars. Not like radio at all. If you have a massive catalogue—a major label for example—then you’re quids in. But making new recorded music needs funding…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 [that] Dark Side would have been made. It would just be too expensive.”
Unsurprisingly, Spotify isn’t exactly stoked on the public criticism of its model and told MusicWeek that its “goal is to grow a service that people love, ultimately want to pay for, and which will provide the financial support to the music industry necessary to invest in new talent and music.” While the company seems to know that it’s not really there yet, payment-wise, it notes that it has “paid US$500M to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach US$1bn.” Currently, Spotify is valued at about $3 billion.