To coincide with the new Atoms For Peace record out this week, The Guardian has done up a short expose on frontman Thom Yorke, also of Radiohead fame. The singer/songwriter is a respected if somewhat forlorn figure in the industry, but one whose opinion matters. And he certainly has some very strong ones about the industry in which he makes his living, particularly about the “commodification” of music.
It’s in large part Apple’s and Google’s fault, Yorke said.
“They have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions,” Yorke told The Guardian. “And this is what we want?”
Maybe he’s right, maybe he isn’t.
Compared to how things used to be, back in the day, the way consumers purchase music has forever been changed. People no longer go out to a record store to explore endless shelves and sample what’s new; all it takes is a few clicks and you can purchase the song of the moment for a buck.
For big companies music is solely offered for the sake of making money. Customers buy it, and all involved parties make a few dollars. Yorke may have a point, but the music industry actually improved last year, so services from Apple and Google seem to be having a positive impact. Still, Yorke doesn’t think these services will last.
“I still think it will be undermined in some way,” Yorke said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”