Radiohead debut music on YouTube and Spotify despite comparing them to Nazis and a dying corpse

The band has never held back when talking about music's new stream-lined revenue model...

Radiohead debut music on YouTube and Spotify despite comparing them to Nazis and a dying corpse

Andy Butterton / PA

Radiohead released their first single since the 2011 King of Limbs album cycle yesterday (apart from 'Spectre' - the band's rejected Bond soundtrack effort which was given away as a free download).

Interestingly 'Burn the Witch' was made available through YouTube and Spotify - two platforms which have been criticised by the band in the past.

In less than 20 hours the jittering debut release from the band's forthcoming album has passed 4 million plays on YouTube.

Lead singer Thom Yorke's has compared the video platform owners, Google, to the Nazi Party.

In a 2013 newspaper interview Mr Yorke 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?"

During the same year, he also registered his opposition to Spotify, saying, "I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what's happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen."

He continued to describe Spotify as "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse."

When his second solo album was released in 2014 it was made available as a peer to peer torrent - none of his solo work appears on streaming apps.

Hello from the other side

Speaking at the Web Summit in Dublin in November of last year, the band's manager Brian Message was decidedly more positive about streaming - he described it as the new "language of the [music] business."

Even if streaming services offer minimal direct financial returns to musicians, he says that they serve as a platform which can be used to open other ways of generating revenues, and that the business as it stands is now more like other industries, and that individual acts are like start-ups who need to work to "find capital, and to find fans."

The band is now signed to XL following a messy breakup with EMI. The label, whose roster includes talents such as Adele, The White Stripes, Sigur Ros and Vampire Weekend, has taken a progressive stance with artists, offering them a 50/50 split of streaming revenue while deals at other labels pay much smaller cuts to their artists.

Radiohead has not commented on the music appearing on streaming services, although Spotify is clearly happy to have them, judging by the above tweet.

Plays on the app are reported to generate between $0.006 and $0.0084 for artists.

The pay-what-you-like release In Rainbows is the only Radiohead album which is not available on streaming services.