Right now, Radiohead is so universally beloved that it becomes news whenever any prominent artist says anything remotely bad about them. (Well, in our universe it's news, anyway.) So when Cure frontman Robert Smith sniffed at Radiohead's In Rainbows pay-what-you-want pricing model, we reported on it. And now Smith has clarified his remarks in a way that would please fellow Radiohead basher Kanye West: A typo-heavy all-caps blog rant! (Via Stereogum.)
Here's what Smith said to Music Radar about the Radiohead business model: "You can't allow other people to put a price on what you do, otherwise you don't consider what you do to have any value at all and that's nonsense. If I put a value on my music and no one's prepared to pay that, then more fool me, but the idea that the value is created by the consumer is an idiot plan, it can't work."
In his clarification (a repost of comments he first made on the Cure's message board), Smith makes sure to point out that he was just using Radiohead as an example to illustrate his underlying point. That point: "AN ARTIST HAS TO VALUE THE ART THEY CREATE. OTHERWISE I DON'T BELIEVE THEY CAN BELIEVE IT TO BE ART." And so when it becomes the norm for artists to give their work away for free, it basically becomes impossible for artists to make a living through their art. Fair enough!
Still, even though Smith points out that he's not just talking about Radiohead, he still comes off being pretty mad at that band. At one point, he appears to dismiss the In Rainbows pricing scheme as: "SOME KIND OF 'LOSSLEADER' TO HELP 'BUILD THE BRAND.'"
Oh snap! Click the jump for Smith's whole blog post:
IT SEEMS A FEW PROFESSIONAL APOLOGISTS (YOU HAVE TOLOVE THEM!) OUT THERE DISAGREE WITH MY "EVERY ARTIST SHOULD VALUE THEIRART" MUSING
AND THINK ITS OK FOR ART - MUSIC IN PARTICULAR - TO BEMADE AVAILABLE FREE FOR ALL...
NO I AM NOT CONFUSING 'ARTISTIC VALUE' WITH'COMMERCIAL VALUE'
>MERELY QUESTIONING THE DUMB ACCEPTANCE OF THE 'FREEART IS THE 'NEW' PARADIGM - THATS JUST THE WAY IT IS' MANTRA
IN THE WAY OF OUR BRIGHT AND BRAVE NEW WIRED WORLD
THESE IDIOT CRITICS HAVE TRIED VERY HARD TO TURN MYGENERAL POINT - A POINT I MADE USING RADIOHEAD'S 'IN RAINBOWS: PAY WHAT YOUWANT' MARKETING RUSE AS IT IS THE MOST WIDELY KNOWN EXAMPLE - INTO A MOCK SHOCKHORROR "HOW DARE ANYONE QUESTION THE FAMOUSLY INDEPENDENT ANDANTI-CAPITALIST RADIOHEAD, THEY SELL MORE 'PRODUCT' THAN THE CURE SO THEIRSTRATEGY OBVIOUSLY 'WORKED' (HUH?!!)... AND ANYWAY, ROBERT SMITH IS WAY TOO OLDTO COMMENT ON CONTEMPORARY CULTURE" MOMENT...
MY POINT IS NEITHER PARTICULARLY NEW NOR ORIGINAL
NOR EXCLUSIVELY ABOUT RADIOHEADS 'IN RAINBOWS'
BUT IT IS I FEEL STILL COMPELLING
ANY FAMOUS ARTIST WITH A HUGE AND DEVOTED FAN BASE(OFTEN ARRIVED AT WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A WEALTHY AND POWERFUL 'PATRON' ORTWO?) CAN AFFORD TO DO WHAT HE, SHE OR IT WANTS...
INCLUDING GIVING THEIR ART AWAY AS SOME KIND OF 'LOSSLEADER' TO HELP 'BUILD THE BRAND'
ALL WELL AND GOOD (WELL... NOT REALLY! 'LOSS LEADER'?'BUILD THE BRAND'? AAGH! BUT THIS IS THE LINGUA FRANCA... )
IF THIS 'ART FOR FREE' IDEA BECOMES THE CULTURAL NORM
THEN HOW DO ARTISTS EARN THEIR LIVING?
WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT A WEALTHY AND POWERFUL 'PATRON'
LIKE... A BIG RECORD LABEL?
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SIGN UP AND AGREE TO ITS TERMSAND CONDITIONS
AND IT WILL MARKET YOU DECISIVELY
AND IF YOU PLAY IT RIGHT ITS EVEN WEALTHIER AND MOREPOWERFUL PARENT COMPANY WILL AIR YOUR WORDS AND PICTURES AND VIDEOS AND MUSICAND ADS ON ITS MANY AND VARIOUS WEB/TV/RADIO CHANNELS
AND CHARGE ADVERTISERS HUGE AMOUNTS TO ADVERTISE TOTHE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE CONSUMING ALL YOUR FREE ART...
AND YOU THE ARTIST WILL OF COURSE GET A 'FAIR' REWARDFOR YOUR EFFORTS... ?
SOME 'NEW' PARADIGM!
I STAND BY MY POINT:
AN ARTIST HAS TO VALUE THE ART THEY CREATE
>OTHERWISE I DONT BELIEVE THEY CAN BELIEVE IT TO BE ART
I AM MORE THAN HAPPY TO PAY AN ARTIST FOR HIS OR HEROR ITS ART
AS IT OBVIOUSLY HELPS ENABLE THAT ARTIST TO KEEPCREATING
AND QUITE HONESTLY
IS UNLIKELY TO BE AN ARTIST
I DONT REALLY CARE TOO MUCH WHAT THEY THINK... !!!
I JUST WROTE ALL THIS BECAUSE I GOT PARTICULARLY FEDUP TONIGHT WITH THE SQUEALING HIGH DRAMA OF THE 101 STORIES A DAY AND NONE OFTHEM PARTICULARLY TRUE BRIGHT AND BRAVE NEW WIRED WORLD MEDIA THAT WHINES ONAND ON WITHOUT RESPITE OR REFUTATION…
OR MAYBE ITS JUST MY POST BIG GIG HANGOVER TALKING?!!
I WONDER HOW MANY OF THE PROFESSIONAL APOLOGISTS OUTTHERE WRITE THEIR SHIT FOR FREE?
Muddafuckah, I can't read all dis shit!