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The Cure's Robert Smith Explains Radiohead Bashing
The Quietus , March 2nd, 2009 13:28

Says he is "QUESTIONING THE DUMB ACCEPTANCE OF THE 'FREEART IS THE 'NEW' PARADIGM" (apologies for caps)

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Last week, Robert Smith appeared to have a pop at Radiohead for their pay-what-you-will release of most recent album In Rainbows, telling Music Radar that he "disagreed violently" with the ploy.

Now he's explained himself further in one of those rambling, caps-lock heavy posts beloved of musicians. Read what he wrote below:

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... )

HOWEVER

IF THIS 'ART FOR FREE' IDEA BECOMES THE CULTURAL NORM

THEN HOW DO ARTISTS EARN THEIR LIVING?

HEY

HANG ON

WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT A WEALTHY AND POWERFUL 'PATRON'

LIKE... A BIG RECORD LABEL?

EXCELLENT!

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... ?

BAH

SOME 'NEW' PARADIGM!

SO

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…

CRETINS!

OR MAYBE ITS JUST MY POST BIG GIG HANGOVER TALKING?!!

ONWARDS...

RSX

PS

I WONDER HOW MANY OF THE PROFESSIONAL APOLOGISTS OUTTHERE WRITE THEIR SHIT FOR FREE?

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Hana Summers
Mar 19, 2012 8:56pm

Beautiful speech by Robert! I want to pay for music anyway because
No.1 it makes you feel as though you own it and the music becomes more personal as you know that other people who perhaps aren't fans dont have it and are wasting it.
No.2 because it will imply that it is normal to not pay for an album and so will cause other bands to do the same thus forth making other bands look bad for making people pay and for new bands and general less famous bands they cant afford for people not to pay.
No.3 music is art and if we make art lose value then people wont see it as important produce.

Overall i am in general agreement, i dont specifically have issues with radiohead but i dont think rob did either...

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AJ
Jul 7, 2012 4:49pm

I'm sure the new paradigm is hurting the older artists like Robert who aren't creating fresh and cutting edge art anymore but relying upon royalties from earlier successes. But of course there are no royalties when everyone is downloading your stuff illegally. Radiohead just understands the current market better than Robert.

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davidaftertherain
Aug 5, 2012 7:16am

In reply to AJ:

'understand' ?! You should have written 'use' or 'corrupt'. Radiohead are not what they pretend to be. You're a bit naive and Robert just to smart to be tricked.

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CB
Aug 27, 2012 9:06pm

If Robert Smith doesn't understand the new ways of marketing (making money with) music in a world where digital files are available to anyone with internet connection, it's his problem. If he thinks it's cheating to use music in any other way to make money instead of good old 'sell songs', it's his problem. The reality of art doesn't have anything to do with Bob, Radiohead or any other artist. Until the "world police" does not figure out a way to definitely stop illegal downloading, and even then, copying digital files(!), Bob's opinion is good only to him and to people who think he's a genius because he writes good songs. He's not solving anything, or at least trying to come up with different ways to conform to the present. He's just whining a bit like the tired diva that he is.

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Rupert
Apr 18, 2013 4:56pm

Ages out of date-as usual-but will say no number of you tube "hits" pay the mortgage..particularly if you're up and coming and not established, so you give away some songs/art they are a massive success and you get recognised, what happens if everything after that is not as good or well received-you've lost your potential prime earner for nothing, literally. Carry on Robert, this is marketing for fools.

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Jane D'oh
May 12, 2017 5:19pm

Patroeon, developed by Pomplamoose's Jack Conte, is an excellent combination of giving your work away but still getting paid. Your work belongs to you but you get 'patrons' who agree to pay you x amount per week/month/song. You get to pay what you think k it's worth and get the media, the artist still gets laid. Some of the bigger YouTubers have started doing this already, such as

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ee
May 22, 2017 6:15pm

ART and COMMERCE are two completely different... and separate things. Let's keep it that way.

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