David Byrne blasts music streaming sites

David Byrne

David Byrne

The Talking Heads man says that free music streaming sites are bad for new artists

David Byrne has laid into online music streaming sites in a new opinion piece.

In the blog, which was published by The Guardian, the former Talking Heads man says that the ‘pittance’ paid by sites such as Spotify to artists means that new and upcoming musicians won’t be able to survive without supplementing their income in other ways and focusing less on making music.

Byrne writes: “I could conceivably survive, as I don’t rely on the pittance that comes my way from music streaming, as could [Thom] Yorke and some of the others. But up-and-coming artists don’t have that advantage – some haven’t got to the point where they can make a living on live performances and licensing, so what do they think of these services?”

He added: “What’s at stake is not so much the survival of artists like me, but that of emerging artists and those who have only a few records under their belts (such as St Vincent, my current touring partner, who is not exactly an unknown). Many musicians like her, who seem to be well established, well known and very talented, will eventually have to find employment elsewhere or change what they do to make more money. Without new artists coming up, our future as a musical culture looks grim.” Read the full piece here.

In another blog post earlier this week David Byrne claimed that the wealthiest section of New York’s population has crushed the city’s creative energy. He expressed his feelings in another opinion piece published by The Guardian. In the article, Byrne said he fears that New York is becoming increasingly dictated by wealth and not culture, adding that he will leave the city if he perceives that is is getting worse.

David Byrne’s most recent musical project is a collaboration with St Vincent. The pair released their debut album ‘Love This Giant’ in 2012 and headlined the End Of The Road festival in August of this year.

Thom Yorke: Spotify is “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”

Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke – By Alex Young on October 3rd, 2013

“We are entering an age when potentially all creativity stops, the past informs the future, there is no other future.” ~ Adam Curtis

Earlier this year, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich pulled many of their own records from Spotify, including Yorke’s solo album, The Eraser, the full-length debut by Atoms For Peace, Amok, and the full-length debut by Godrich’s Ultrai­sta. The artists cited Spotify’s unfair royalty payments and declared, “Someone gotta say something. It’s bad for new music.”

Yorke continued his crusade against Spotify during a recent interview with Mexico’s Sopitas.com:

“I feel like the way people are listening to music is going through this big transition. I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what’s happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen. But it’s all about how we change the way we listen to music, it’s all about what happens next in terms of technology, in terms of how people talk to each other about music, and a lot of it could be really fucking bad. I don’t subscribe to the whole thing that a lot of people do within the music industry that’s ‘well this is all we’ve got left. we’ll just have to do this.’ I just don’t agree.

When we did the In Rainbows thing what was most exciting was the idea you could have a direct connection between you as a musician and your audience. You cut all of it out, it’s just that and that. And then all these fuckers get in a way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. We don’t need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off. But because they’re using old music, because they’re using the majors… the majors are all over it because they see a way of re-selling all their old stuff for free, make a fortune, and not die. That’s why to me, Spotify the whole thing, is such a massive battle, because it’s about the future of all music. It’s about whether we believe there’s a future in music, same with the film industry, same with books.

To me this isn’t the mainstream, this is is like the last fart, the last desperate fart of a dying corpse. What happens next is the important part.

Yorke went on to relay his recent conversation with Massive Attack collaborator Adam Curtis in which Curtis said, “We are entering an age when potentially all creativity stops, the past informs the future, there is no other future.” Yorke continued:

“And, it’s like, ‘fucking right, man.’ You know, people like us and him and Massive Attack we need to be standing together. Bullshit, it ain’t over. It’s like this mind trick going on, people are like ‘with technology, it’s all going to become one in the cloud and all creativity is going to become one thing and no one is going to get paid and it’s this big super intelligent thing.” Bullshit. It’s hard not to think about it all the time, because to me it’s the most important thing happening in music since when… it’s like when the printing press came out.”

Listen to the full interview below. Yorke’s comments about Spotify kick in around the 17:30 mark.

(2013/09/29) Reactor 105, Rulo David, Thom
Radiohead’s interviews’ archive

Home Taping is Killing Music – The Village Voice

All Of The Arguments About Digital Music, Summarized
By Mike Barthel Mon., Jun. 25 2012 at 1:00 PM

Piracy is theft.

Piracy isn’t theft because nothing physical is being stolen.

You are taking money out of the hands of artists.

Artists were already being ripped off by labels.

Artists can make the money back by touring.


Here is a bulleted list of numbers showing how much it costs to be a working musician compared with how much you get for touring.

By reducing the economic incentives for producing music, you are reducing the number of people who become musicians, and thus the quality of music overall.

Remixes, mash-ups, and other forms of sampling show how digital music is encouraging creativity.

The music industry is stifling creativity by filing copyright violation notices on remixers, mash-uppers, and samplers.

The music industry is unjustly harassing downloaders, levying fines far in excess of actual damages.

By exposing people to more music, freely-available digital music prompts more people to buy music.

Music sales have dropped dramatically since the introduction of MP3s.

Music sales have dropped because music got worse.

Music sales were always inflated by the introduction of overpriced new formats and albums padded with filler.

It doesn’t cost anything to make music now, so it shouldn’t cost anything to buy music.

Here is a bulleted list of numbers showing how much it costs to make music.

Music should be free.

It’s already free on the radio.

People have been stealing music for a long time.

Artists don’t deserve to make a living making music.

Musicians should just be happy to be making music and shouldn’t worry about making money from it.

Big tech corporations are encouraging “free culture” and are the ones profiting from music now.

Copyright laws are unrealistic and designed to benefit big corporations.

Copyright laws, accurately designed, can protect creators and encourage creativity.

It’s easier to pirate music than to buy it.

No it’s not.

The record industry needs to develop a better business model.


Why can’t I just pay for one streaming service with all of the music in the world.

Only hopelessly backwards artists and labels don’t sign with streaming services.

Streaming services pay almost nothing per play, making such agreements basically worthless.

If you have money and love music you should be willing to pay money for it.

The Internet has made it possible for artists to develop their careers independent of labels, and I support those artists.

I don’t want to have to deal with an evil record company.

Record companies socialize the costs of launching new artists, allowing successful ones to subsidize riskier unproven artists.

The only musicians that can be successful as independent artists already have label-grown existing fanbases.

It is economically rational for me to pay as little money for a desired commodity as possible, so the existence of pirate-able music demands, by market logic, that I download it.

Fuck you.

Fuck you.