Thom Yorke: YouTube steals art 'like Nazis during second world war'

The Radiohead frontman hits out at video-sharing site’s supposed double standards over ad-blocking: ‘Artists don’t get paid, but if YouTube don’t get a profit out of it, it’s not fair’

Thom Yorke has shared his views on YouTube, suggesting that the corporation, along with parent company Google, have “seized control” of art in the same way Nazi Germany did during the second world war.

Yorke, who famously called Spotify “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”, shared his thoughts on the video-sharing service during an interview for Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

The Radiohead frontman claimed that he “definitely doesn’t use YouTube” and instead finds new music through online music shop Boomkat.

“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 [YouTube].

“The funny thing is that YouTube has said ‘that’s not fair’ [to AdBlocker]. You know? They say it’s not fair – the people who put adverts in front of any piece of content, making a load of money, while artists don’t get paid or are paid laughable amounts – and that seems fine to them. But if [YouTube] don’t get a profit out of it, it’s not fair.”

When asked about the ways in which a musician can profit from making music in the digital world, he said:

I don’t have the solution to these problems. I only know that they’re making money with the work of loads of artists who don’t get any benefit from it. People continue to say that this is an era where music is free, cinema is free. It’s not true. The creators of services make money – Google, YouTube. A huge amount of money, by trawling, like in the sea – they take everything there is. ‘Oh, sorry, was that yours? Now it’s ours. No, no, we’re joking – it’s still yours’. They’ve seized control of it – it’s like what the Nazis did during the second world war. Actually, it’s like what everyone was doing during the war, even the English – stealing the art of other countries. What difference is there?

Elsewhere in the interview, Yorke said he could “not answer” when asked if any of Spotify’s rivals had attempted to win him over. He was also typically evasive on the topic of the forthcoming Radiohead album.


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