And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week Digital

CMU Beef Of The Week #185: Moby v Thom Yorke

By | Published on Friday 29 November 2013


Ever since Nigel Godrich re-ignited (or perhaps fanned the flames of) the Spotify debate a few months ago, everyone has come out and had their say. Dave Stewart is for it, David Byrne is against it, Billy Bragg is for it, Foals’ Yannis Philippakis is against it, Liam Gallagher is confused.

But Thom Yorke has become the poster boy for the anti-Spotify brigade, joining his Atoms For Peace bandmate Godrich in denouncing it as a service that does more harm than good for new artists. And in that role as Chief Spotify Disser, Yorke came in for some fire from the latest musician to come out as pro-Spotify this week, Moby.

Moby is giving his latest album, ‘Innocents’, away for free as a BitTorrent bundle, as well as selling it on traditional formats. That’s arguably a move that continues a trend started by Radiohead in 2007 when they handed out their ‘In Rainbows’ album on a pay-what-you-want basis. But if you think that means Moby and Yorke are going to see eye-to-eye on digital music… well, let’s just say you weren’t reading the last paragraph properly.

Asked if he thought Spotify was a sustainable business model for artists, Moby said: “Artists who are adaptable are doing fine. A musician who makes records, tours, DJs, remixes, does music for video games and films is doing fine. If you can learn how to adapt [you’re fine]. It’s really weird and unhealthy when people talk about restricting progress to accommodate the inability of people to adapt. Every industry has been impacted by [changes in technology] in both negative and positive ways, but I feel like to complain is pointless”.

He continued: “I love Thom Yorke, but when I heard him complaining about Spotify, I’m like, ‘You’re just like an old guy yelling at fast trains’. I love anything that enables people to have more music in their lives”.

Yorke responded to this on Twitter, saying: “I am a 45 year old Luddite and proud of it… yawn”. He later linked to a Spin article, which referenced a Baffler piece on the original Luddite movement, picking out the quote: “But they weren’t anti-machine – they were against low-paying bosses, against being put out of a job in the name of efficiency”.

Moby, ruining the premise of this column, just wants everyone to get along. He took to Twitter to reiterate his point, saying: “To be clear, I love Thom Yorke and David Byrne – [they’re] creative geniuses. I just don’t see the point in fighting a future that’s already here”.

Retweeting Yorke’s original tweet, he added: “There’s no feud between Thom Yorke and I, at least not on my side. How could I feud with a genius who’s made some of my favourite records?”

Then Yorke responded: “Likewise, ain’t no feud on my side either. Except maybe about fast trains! These peeps have nothing else to write about?!”

Yeeeeeeeeah! Oh… wait a second. Damn you, Yorke!