Dave Stewart Attacks Radiohead: “They Were Wrong and Should be Worshipping Spotify…”

This is the price that Radiohead has been paying for their Spotify pullout: bitter and non-stop criticism, all sorts of accusations, even outright abuse.  And the latest jab is coming from ex-Eurythmics pop star Dave Stewart, who says not only was Radiohead wrong on Spotify, but they’re completely attacking the wrong enemy and should be worshipping the streaming service.  “Thom Yorke made a mistake there, him and Nigel Godrich,” Stewart told the Guardian. “They were misinformed.”


“Spotify is one of the few companies that is transparent and actually pays properly — as a songwriter you should worship Spotify, because they’ve come along with a solution.”


But when will that ‘solution’ starting pay artists?  After about 100 million paying subscribers, according to Stewart, which is approximately 93 million more than right now.   “It’s a volume business,” Stewart continued.


“If they had 100 million subscribers, which is possible, the payment [for the Eurythmics catalog] would be equal to the band’s income back at the peak of selling.”


That mirrors earlier comments from exiting Rdio CEO Drew Larner, who explained that streaming services will become ‘wildly profitable‘ once they reach 25-30 million subscribers – apiece.

Strangely, Stewart has been one of Spotify’s biggest enemies and critics, and a vitriolic opponent of their major label partners.  Just last year, Stewart blasted Spotify after realizing that he would make just $47 after three straight years of streaming.  “Streaming services are bad for musicians,” Stewart leveled to Stuff Magazine.


“Artists don’t get paid.  If somebody streamed my album on Spotify for three years non-stop, I’d get $47.  If you’re a new artist, you’re better off selling your albums out of the boot of a car.”


24 Responses

  1. Karen

    Streaming is the answer, and the only one at that, so there isn’t even a reason to fight over it. Buying $15 CDs will never happen again, can’t change that. And without streaming it means pirating. So however little is being made will be even less. If artists want more money they should negotiate better contracts (maybe get rid of their record companies all together), or tour more, or have their music used for promotional use. But this argument is baseless and it needs to stop. Doesn’t matter what services whether spotify, rdio, pulselocker, torch music… they all pay something, and something is better than nothing.

    • Visitor

      “If artists want more money they should […]”
      …boycott Spotify.

        • Visitor

          “And this will magically make everyone buy dls again?”
          1) They never stopped, and music sales rose in 2012 for the first time in this century.
          2) Magic is not involved, it’s a matter of common sense: Nobody buys what they can get for free.

          • GGG

            1. Yes, while Spotify has existed.
            2. Uh…yea, that’s the point…Get rid of streaming, it’s back to piracy for people more often than back to buying stuff.

          • BAGDAD BOB

            I’ve never understood your logic about this. Why did piracy explode? Because people got used to the idea of a free music buffet and the culture turned into one all about devouring more music than ever.
            Streaming is and has been the only remotely viable alternative anyone has come up with. Take away and it’s back to stealing. If people were so easily swayed to pay for music again, it would have happened years ago. You put far too much faith in mankind and how they use their wallets.

          • GGG

            Oh oh, I got this one.
            Quite respectfully,
            Bagdad Bob
            Head of Public Affairs, Totally Fake Record Company Inc.

  2. Visitor

    Artists defending Spotify are like Republican Hollywood actors.
    They get publicity because they’re rare.

  3. FarePlay

    Is it merely coincidence? Earlier this morning I read a similar story coming from Nick Mason of Pink Floyd with a similar reversal about Spotify. The article confirmed that Pink Floyd had signed a “deal” with Spotify in June.
    If I’m not mistaken this follows an earlier equity deal with the major labels and more recently talk that Spotify was looking for a new round of financing.
    Could all this be somehow related?

    • Bandit

      It is interesting how quickly the vitriol turns to praise once a big fat check is handed to a musician.

  4. GGG

    I mean, if you hadn’t realized Spotify was a volume business since day one, you’re an idiot.
    And once again, all Thom has to do is show some Eraser/AfP statements from while they were on Spotify vs now. It’s been a couple months. Plenty of data.

  5. webbo

    Radiohead have not pulled their music from Spotify. Atoms for Peace did. Dave Stewart did not attack them

  6. David

    This is off-topic to this article, but I’ve been trying to find out how mp3skull works. Mp3skull.com is featured prominently in the Google Transparency Report and in the RIAA’s report on Google’s ‘downrating’ of pirate site search results, but there seems to be very little information about the site – no Wiki article, not many press reports, no mention of any legal action. The site itself doesn’t seem to carry advertising, and it is ‘powered by iMesh’, which claims to be a legal service. It also claims to have some connection with Bearshare, which is sometimes listed as a ‘legal’ service. Yet obviously most of the tracks available are infringing. Does anyone know how it works, where it is based, and how it is funded?

    • jw

      M3skull crawls the internet, the same as google does, only just for mp3 files, & indexes them. So they don’t upload or host any content, they just link out to files hosted elsewhere & allow them to be downloaded out of context.
      For instance, if you search for Enter Sandman on mp3skull, the second result is a link to a file being used as the background music on junkyarddawgs.us, a Pit Bull breader in Red Oak, TX.

      • David

        Thanks. I was really more interested in the ‘business model’ (if there is one). Search engines usually make their money through advertising, but MP3Skull doesn’t seem to have much if any advertising. I had a similar puzzle about Bearshare (which incidentally was once listed by the RIAA as an authorised music service, but no longer is). But then I read the fine print of Bearshare’s privacy policies, from which it is clear that they may supply info on users to other parties, including ‘search partners’. It isn’t explained what ‘search partners’ are, but I guess they are other pirate sites which pay Bearshare a small fee for indexing them. And since MP3Skull is ‘powered by Bearshare’ I guess some of that money flows through to whoever owns MP3Skull.

  7. Jason Jackson

    I think hate is very productive and solves a lot of problems.
    I love Radiohead

  8. Visitor

    Sadly, Dave Stewart seems grossly misinformed about Spotify and payments to Songwriters… as Spotify pays labels on master recordings 12x’s more than they do song writers…

    Go ahead check your own math and statements, Songwriters are getting dramatically lower payments from Spotify from performers and labels, where is the outrage from music publishers?


    • system

      Songwriters get paid for performance from deals negotiated by ASCAP and BMI who’s largest memebrs are owned by the 3 major labels. (Mechanicals are paid to a company like HFA out of the services pocket, part of their costs) So if songwriters are getting paid too little, then the split between publishers and labels need to be recalibrated because there’s roughly 70% (or a little more) to go to royalties and the rest the service keeps.
      Unless people think services should build their product for free and give away all the money.

        • correct

          Yes, the 1941 consent decrees that the So. District of NY courts oversee in regards to ASCAP and BMI, however back then the logic was they held monopolitic power and needed to be regulated.
          The artists and haters ought to direct their anger at the congress and our government to fix the system, not at companies following the law.

          • Visitor

            If anyone can show how much SPOTIFY pays songwriters GROSS compared to performers and labels, let’s see it.

            Otherwise, we’ll assume SPOTIFY pays 12 times more to performers and labels than songwriters.

          • splits

            It’s common knowledge that on average, though in some countires it is more, streaming services pay 8-10% of revenue to the publishers/PRO’s/societies and labels get 50-60% of revenue.