Moby Calls Thom Yorke “an Old Guy Yelling at Fast Trains”


Which is sort of a polite way of saying something else.  Here’s what Moby recently shared about Spotify, digital distribution, BitTorrent, and piracy in an interview with Mashable (full interview here).

Mashable: Do you feel that [digital platforms like Spotify] represent a sustainable model for artists?

Moby: 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 — 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.

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.

Mashable:  Do you use services like Spotify personally for consumption?

Moby: I do. For me the criteria is convenience. Because I travel quite a lot I still mainly buy music on iTunes. But whether it is Spotify, SoundCloud, or Pandora, I think they’re all great.

I have gotten involved in lobbying efforts to try and block Congress and the RIAA from penalizing them.

Ultimately, I think the more access people have to music, the better.

Mashable: Is your view on this informed by having been around in the early era of piracy?

Moby: In the world of culture, it’s more interesting to err on the side of openness as opposed to the side of restriction. Imposing restrictions on content seems like a fool’s errand. It’s incredibly difficult and arbitrary.



Image by Bhaskar Peddhapati, licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).   Written while listening to the amazing piano work of Franz Schubert, performed by Grigory Sokolov (and delivered by Songza).

30 Responses

  1. Yves Villeneuve

    It’s about fair compensation, not technology. Moby is a bit confused… too much free love in his system.

  2. Moby

    Desperate artists like Moby will say anything to get attention. Will we ever get past tabloid promo?

  3. George Johnson

    Like an old German Jew yelling at a Nazi train on the way to Auschwitz? Nothing he can do about it, just get on board? Moby has just become Billy Bragg – another progressive nut job who thinks we all need to serve and sacrifice for them or Sean Parker – another progressive criminal who thinks music should be free for the world while he pockets billions. Spotify pays .00000012 cents per stream and Moby and Billy think that’s OK and unchangeable. All three of these guys are hyper-progressive and Bragg is a devout Marxist who was, of course, a serial murderer, as most collectivists are. I would rather side with 400 years of American copyright traditions than Karl Marx’s ideas. 5 years ago, the Spotify and Pandora trains stopped to pick up all the songwriters and music publishers, but nothing to see here Moby, move along. You would think songwriters like Moby would be more interested in protecting songwriters, but instead, they would rather work against them for a tired, bankrupt and dangerous ideology, progressivism. Progressivism has absolutely ruined the music business for the past 100 years. Moby is full of shit if he thinks everybody can just go get on a tour bus or get a film sync that will sustain them, it’s the opposite, tour buses, merchandise, gas, hotels, players, pitching music supervisors, all take up front money and if you steal songwriter copyrights, there is no money to subsidize those start up costs, etc. But progressives HATE copyright and are out to destroy it. Maybe the Americans, like in WWII, will stand up to the Nazi progressive elite like Sean Parker and say “Never Again” and then do something about it instead sitting there and taking it. 🙂 But Moby has to side with the progressives that pay his bills, otherwise he wouldn’t get anymore gigs so HE can eat. Thom Yorke is right and Moby and Billy Bragg are dead wrong – those two could care less about songwriters, only themselves. Not very caring for so-called progressives who are supposedly obsessed with equality and fairness.

    • GGG

      One, check your facts on Spotify payouts. Two, a nazi comparison? Really? Please tell me you’re a 14 year old and not actually an adult human being.

      • Anonymous

        I think he really meant nazi pedophiles with pirate eye patches playing with toy trains.

    • Anonymous

      “Like an old German Jew yelling at a Nazi train on the way to Auschwitz?”

      Yeah, some guys just like to complain.

    • TuneHunter

      George, thank you for your boldness.
      The industry is under occupation and labels and RIAA became unaware or ignorant collaborators of the occupiers.

      We do not need streaming with all inclusive discovery tools and we do not need You Tube as a magnet vacuuming all torrent sites in exchange for some advertising income.

      It is very easy to sale digital music on the web.
      Political correctness is last thing we can afford – bold, vivid or crazy way to communicate might kindle some action! …and action has to come from labels and RIAA -there is no other option.

      • GGG

        Nazi comparisons are not bold. It’s the easiest, most common dumb argument on the internet.

        • TuneHunter

          I disagree, or we will forget about nazi.
          Just do not tell me that only some folks can navigate this subject.
          In principle political correctness (correct by whom?) is harmful.
          Current America is a victim of political correctness and load of petite rules and regulations making all of us miserable. Much said – just morning urge to ventilate 🙂

        • Anonymous

          “Nazi comparisons are not bold. It’s the easiest, most common dumb argument on the internet.”

          That was true ten years ago. The most common knee-jerk argument today is probably abuse of Godwin’s law.

          • TuneHunter

            Godwin’s law is essentially Murphy’s law applied to Nazi subjects.
            Time for Godwin’s law to become real law – and we will put more Americans to jail!
            …another petite, for now gentlemen rule, that does not make sense or we need it.
            Well I am safe being in middle ages and Earth as center of the Universe zone!

            Regardless, we have to abandon current music monetization heresy!
            Same players on different game board can deliver 100B industry before 2020.

  4. Locke

    “Every industry has been impacted by [changes in technology] in both negative and positive ways, but I feel like to complain is pointless.”

    Well, it sounds like you have no interest in change. You’re a casualty. Why complain? Why question anything? Why wonder if there’s a better way?

    It’s how people on top keep people on bottom. Don’t question our methods, I won’t address these questions in any specific matter except to downplay on the ethos of an opposer. They’re wrong I’m right. There’ no why. Just my answer.

    Think for yourself. Complain. Raise hell. Sit in the front Rosa Parks.

  5. George Johnson

    First, great photo today Paul, to me it’s the Spotify Streaming “SS” Express taking out another hit songwriter that got in it’s way! 🙂 The Spotify Express has to run on time and anything that crosses it’s path willl get run over.

    Thanks Tunehunter and Locke. Actually, I’m a songwriter/publisher on music row for 15 years in Nashville. If I was 14, I would be ranting about how I want my free music now, nobody has the right disrupt my free streaming, and how Sean Parker is a genius entrepreneur.

    Spotify is a criminal enterprise that commits serial copyright infringement by the billions and knows it’s stealing songs for nothing. Watch the documentary “Downloaded”. Sean Parker is a hard-core progressive and so was the reich who preached “serve your community”. You might want to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand since songwriters and music publishers are living it right now, at least in the US.

    But what do free music looters care, they don’t have to produce music, write the songs, sing them, pay for the recording, have any talent, or pay the writer, screw the writer right? I’m only here to serve and sacrifice for Anonymous and make sure he can have free music whenever he wants it. How about Anonymous practice what he preaches and start servicing and sacrificing for me, become my slave and work for free everyday since that what he/she expects from me?

    Coilectivism/Progressivism is the entire problem with the music business, and like the German people, consumers today demand that the Spotify “trains runs on time”, no disruption in service, even though some trains were taking German Jews to concentration camps and being sacrificed by the millions. Same philosophy without the camps, yet songwriters are literally being starved, have stopped writing new songs and are working at Walmart after having HIT RECORDS. They are the starved artist, so progressivism does cause pain and have real life consequences, but progressives hate to talk about reality.

    So, I thought my train reference was pretty good though I knew the uninformed would jump on me, and I didn’t even use the “n” word, Nazi! ha

    Moby’s “old guys yelling at trains” to me means that Moby thinks Thom is stupid because of his advanced age and grey-bearded “young guys” like Moby and Billy Bragg are the only ones hip to the new fast train technology, while Thom is a dinosaur who’s old man “hater” ramblings about the “motor car” should be disregarded. Moby thinks Thom should not be upset and just accept that his “old man” songwriter dad just got put on the Spotify train to Auschwitz train to serve the collective Anonymous listener. Moby thinks he is the one with youth, clarity, and tolerance, while Thom is uninformed and should be sacrificed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe Moby should, for once, “take one for the team” along with Bragg and Anonymous. Practice what you preach and serve and sacrifice for your “brother” songwriters – give us your royalties and your income to subsidize us?

    What I was trying to point out was that songwriters and music publishers for the past 5 years have been sacrificed by Spotify and Pandora while everybody in the progressive music industry sits around and says we need more sacrifice and service from songwriters. It’s songwriter slavery and my last BMI statement had a .00000012 cents “payment” from Spotify in the real world. Again, the real world is .00000012 from streamers. Let that sink in progressive songwriters. The law says a stream is 9.1 cents per stream but song looter kids and Spotify want to disregard the law and reality. That is where we are. Songwriters and music publishers split 2 cents in 1909 and over 100 years later, we split .00000012 per play!

    I encourage Anonymous and all Spotify users to record an album out their own pocket and savings get paid nothing, get on a tour bus with expenses lil gas, hotel, employees, bus rental, up front merch cost and pay for it all on .00000012 cents! I wish you best of luck! 🙂

    What I suggest to the progressive songwriter haters is that they go get a “job” that pays them .00000012 cents per hour, day, or week. Then, make sure your “minimum wage” of .00000012 is mandated by the federal government for over 100 years. Then tell me about how great it is to live the progressive philosophy in real life and work for nothing, but how YOU shouldn’t be required to serve or sacrifice your time, energy, labor and hard earned money for anybody but yourself. Progressive looters like Sean Parker subsidize their billion dollar lifestyles on the backs or real songwriters and should be in jail for massive copyright infringement.

    That’s not hating, that’s calling out the thieves with the cold, hard facts, not progressive con-man bullshit Reich like rhetoric.

    • George Johnson

      Whoops, I guess I did originally use the “n” word – nazi, sorry, my mistake, but it doesn’t discount the facts –

      1. Progressives in general have ruined the income for 99% of the songwriters and music publishers.

      2. Songs are not free. 🙂

      • TuneHunter

        Absolutely, songs are not FREE.
        Current capitulation treaty between labels on one side and streamers and the Tube on the other side leads to at the best 45B industry by 2025 at that point 1999 in constant money will equal 75B.

        We are not on recovery path – we are witnessing major plastic surgery without anesthesia that will produce mutant on wooden legs . We do not need all this commotion to produce half of the best times.

        All this mess is set in motion by Parker and Ek duo with Mr. Keeling blessing for them and the Tube.
        It is a road full of tears (by those who deliver) to 45B mediocre dead end.

        Just three folks doing so much damage!

        WE DO HAVE 100B IN MUSIC AROUND US – lets rearrange functions of existing resources and deliver cash & happiness to all. 25B Tube as “Label One”, Radio as music stores, or Shazam 25B IPO as a part of the deal – we can share 100 billion dollars in annual revenues by 2020.

  6. juan adams

    moby would almost have a point if anyone could name a hit of his beyond the “play” cd. something about
    ‘we’re all stars” comes to mind but that was a very long time ago (newsflash, mobester: you are far from it these days…) i don’t want to adapt my musical skill to being a faceless, bald, has-been writing unimportant ditties to which freckle-faced kids get the xbox on. if by “adapt” moby means sell out, then fine but it’s sad to think he believes people with real specific talent need to learn how to remix records in order to eat (and, frankly, i’ve not heard a moby remix worth a package of ramen in a good 15 years!) it might be what he wants or has to do because nobody really wants to hear what he is writing these days but i think less moby’s and more radiohead’s are a better way to get more MUSIC into people’s lives. if thom yorke is an old man yelling at fast trains then moby is the dumbass kid who got run over by one.

  7. Danwriter

    “A musician who makes records, tours, DJs, remixes, does music for video games and films is doing fine.”

    He’s just described the musical equivalent of Michael Bloomberg, who built a billion-dollar info company, was mayor of New York and flew his dates around in his own helicopter. Nice work if you can get it. Not everyone is the exceptionally adroit polymath that Moby describes, nor do we want them to be.

    • GGG

      I mean, if you know how to play anything and plug a mic in, you know how to record. If you know how to sit in a van and get out and play in front of people, you know how to tour. If you know how to use some software (which can be learned quite easily, hence the glut of music) you can do the last things listed. It’s not rocket science. If you’re a talented person worth being in music, all those things are pretty easy.

  8. the plain trouth

    Moby has connections. He was lucky to personally know people in important positions.

    That’s the only reason he has money today. Without connections, you can’t tour, or get game jobs, or good licensing.

    • GGG

      Or because he’s been popular in the electronic music scene for years, sold over 10M copies of Play, licensed the fuck out of those tracks, and has continued to be active for years after.

      • TuneHunter

        Moby is just selfish, arrogant and ignorant human with no empathy or sympathy for other fellow musicians!

        Total convenience – Spotify or VeeVoo/Tube style – equals communism, total access and limitation of income and income sources.

        Untapped and ready to use technology allows for better discovery and better monetization of brilliant old.
        It also allows for unprecedented discovery of new music that will threaten well being of old farts like Moby.

        In reality, his “fast trains” are retardants of progress and revenues – blind walk to a monetization swamp.


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