So what happens to high-profile, streaming holdouts? In 2013, they get bullied, shouted down by fanboys, and professionally discredited by the companies themselves (please see: Pandora).
Nigel Godrich, longtime Radiohead producer and now a notorious holdout, doesn’t appear intimidated. After sharply attacking Spotify for paying ‘fuck all’ to new artists, among other insults, Godrich and Thom Yorke pulled their latest content from the application and started investigating premium outlets like soundhalo.
But Godrich says he isn’t anti-streaming services, just anti- the way streaming exists right now.
“All this is about is the emergence of a universal access to music, which I think is an amazing thing. I’m not a dinosaur, I know what streaming is, I know how it works more than anybody I’ve met,” Godrich recently told the Guardian. “And believe me, I’ve done an awful lot of research about it the last few weeks.”
“What we’re prepared to accept, and what could become the norm, is trying to be cemented here. Some people have been greedy and it doesn’t have to be [like that].”
But Godrich is also pulling the scab off an ugly PR and disinformation machine that has now emerged. Just last month, an email to Digital Music News revealed that Pandora was pulling lots of strings with friendly writers to counter-attack against ‘unfriendly’ artists like Pink Floyd – or, more importantly, be prepared for the ‘next Pink Floyd.’
Spotify seems to have a similar machine at work, with well-groomed cheerleaders like Chester French just one example. “But Spotify will tell you that if you don’t put your albums on, then your albums won’t sell,” Godrich continued, with particular reference to holdouts like the Black Keys and Adele.
“They’re being divisive. These people are very clever. They’re cleverer than me and there’s more of them than me. And they have a lot more money and time than me.”
So is this just a greedy cesspool of half-pennies, or is there hope? “I’m not claiming to have an answer or that I’m going to start my own streaming [service]. Just come up with something better and it will work better for you in the long term.