Radiohead's manager wades into Thom Yorke/Nigel Godrich debate to defends Spotify

Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich’s decision to pull their music from Spotify continues to generate chatter and controversy.

The story so far: the pair removed the Atoms For Peace catalogue from Spotify last week in protest at the company’s remuneration policy, stating that the service was “bad for new music” and suggesting that the site’s business model was an “equation that just doesn’t work”. Spotify hit back, claiming it aims to become “the most artist-friendly music service possible”, and Godrich responded with a lengthy counter-argument, pointing out the service’s in-built bias against small labels and artists.

The latest twist in the tale comes courtesy of Radiohead co-manager Brian Message, who has made a public intervention of his own on the subject – and , perhaps surprisingly, he’s taken Spotify’s side. In an interview with the BBC World Service, Message took umbrage with Godrich and Yorke’s assessment of the streaming service, suggesting that Spotify will likely be able to offer “equitable renumeration” down the line:  

“I think myself and a whole range of managers look at new technology developments such as Spotify as a good thing. The internet is a really cutting edge way for fans and artists to communicate with each other and we want to let that opportunity develop and evolve. Streaming services are a very new way for artists and fans to engage.

“As a manager of Thom, I obviously sit up and take note of when he says, “Listen guys, we need to look at how this works.”It’s a good, healthy debate that this is going on right now… He’s rightly asking the question of, “Come on guys, what’s in this for new music and new artists?” I think we’re all sitting there and debating what this is. And as the model gets bigger, I think we’ll find it’ll become a place where artists and managers and all creators can receive what they regard as being equitable remuneration…

“It’s not black and white, it’s a complicated area. There’s been over 20 attempted reviews of copyright and how it operates within the internet era, and there has been no satisfactory solution to it. The bottom line is, technology is here to stay; evolution of technology is always going to go on. It’s up to me as a manager to work with the likes of Spotify and other streaming services to best facilitate how we monetize those for the artists that we represent. It’s not easy but it’s great to have the dialogue.”

When asked whether meeting with Yorke and Godrich might be a shade awkward following the interview, Message said:

“No, because I think the point of all this is that it is a debate. I’m going to see them this week, we’ve been debating this. Look, there was lots of hot debates about what happened with In Rainbows. The band and us, we came up with an idea of a pay-what-you-want model, which was the right thing for Radiohead to do at that point in their career. What I thought was great about that piece was the fact that it was an artist prepared to get up, you know, be empowered and do something that was different that they felt was right.”

Godrich has jumped on Twitter to write “He has shares in the company. Maybe that has something to do with it”. He subsequently wrote, “Actually.. he may not. But it wouldn’t surprise me ;)”. [via Pitchfork]

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