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Thom Yorke pulls recent tracks from Spotify in protest against low pay for new artists

Sharif Sakr
07.15.13
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The artist famed for fronting Radiohead, and not so much for toeing the line, has withdrawn his solo tracks from Spotify and some smaller streaming services in order to highlight the low payments given to new musicians. Thom Yorke explained the decision by re-tweeting his producer, Nigel Godrich, who had complained that "new artists get paid f^@k all," and that the current streaming model only suits those with an existing back catalog. Yorke added that Spotify shareholders "will shortly be rolling in it," implying that the distribution of wealth is unfair. Some followers reacted badly to his decision, accusing him of "hurting his fans" with a "small [and] meaningless rebellion," but others spoke out in support -- including electronic artist Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) who said he'd pulled his music off Spotify for the same reason.

Spotify responded to the criticism this morning in a statement provided to TechCrunch, saying that it is "still in the early stages of a long-term project," and adding that "we've already paid $500 million to rightsholders so far and by the end of 2013 this number will reach $1 billion." The spokesperson further went on to say that "we're 100% committed to making Spotify the most artist-friendly music service possible, and are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers." Yorke is hardly the first star to make a stand, but unlike Coldplay, Adele and the rest, his specific focus on industry newcomers (rather than himself) is -- we've gotta say -- quite refreshing.

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