Thom Yorke calls out YouTube greed

Thom Yorke has lashed out at YouTube, comparing them to the Nazis because they “steal” art.

Last year, the Radiohead frontman issued his second solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes via the BitTorrent filesharing service because he wanted to bypass “the self-elected gatekeepers” and hand “control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.”

Now he tells La Repubblica (via Consequence Of Sound): “A friend of mine told me about this app to skip commercials on YouTube. 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.

“All I know is that they make money from the work of many artists who do not derive any benefit. Service providers make money: Google, YouTube. A lot of money. ‘Oh, sorry, it was yours? Now it is ours. No, no, we are joking, it is always yours.’

“They seize it. It’s like what the Nazis did during the Second World War. In fact they all did that during the war, the British too – steal the art from other countries. What’s the difference?”

In 2014, YouTube said they had paid out more than $1 billion to the music business over the past few years.

Yorke recently composed a soundtrack for the Broadway run of Harold Pinter’s Old Times which came to an end earlier this week. Radiohead are continuing to work on what will be their ninth album.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.