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 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.