Thom Yorke Says YouTube Is a Little Like Nazi Germany
Thom Yorke, ever outspoken about his disappointment in the current state of streaming and inequitable pay for musicians, has now shared his thoughts on YouTube, going so far as to compare the video-streaming platform to Nazi Germany.
The Radiohead frontman told Italy's La Repubblica he most certainly does not turn to YouTube when looking for new music. He went on to describe the site’s distribution of advertising revenue as flat-out theft. “They put advertising before any content, making a lot of money and yet, artists are not paid or are paid small sums, and apparently this is fine for them,” Yorke said. He continued:
People continue to say that this is an era where music is free, cinema is free. It’s not true. The creators of services make money -- Google, YouTube. A huge amount of money, by trawling, like in the sea -- they take everything there is… They’ve seized control of it -- it’s like what the Nazis did during the Second World War. Actually, it’s like what everyone was doing during the war, even the English -- stealing the art of other countries. What difference is there?
However, Yorke didn't offer any alternatives to the status quo: “I don’t have the solution to these problems. I only know that they’re making money with the work of loads of artists who don’t get any benefit from it.”
Yorke also noted his enduring preference for physical albums over digital libraries, and he believes the rise of the MP3 in favor of vinyl, CDs and the like is ultimately weakening the music being made. “Recently I got out all the vinyl I had,” he said. “Stuff collected over a lifetime… with every single vinyl there’s a relationship… That relationship doesn’t exist with digital files, USB sticks. And that has a corrosive effect on how music is made.”
Inevitably, Yorke was asked for a status report on Radiohead’s upcoming ninth album, but the singer remained tight-lipped, simply saying the LP is “not ready yet.”
“Anyways, I could not say if it was,” he added. “It would get me into trouble.”