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Thom Yorke on Google the Commoditizer

July 16, 2013

Given Thom Yorke’s recent brilliant removal of some of his work from Spotify, it may be…relevant…to review this post from earlier this year.

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has a striking interview in the Guardian in which he sums up the band’s realizations about what David Lowery calls the “New Boss” reality:

“[Big Tech] 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. And this is what we want? I still think it will be undermined in some way. It doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The commodification of human relationships through social networks. Amazing!”

He is, of course, exactly correct.  What does this “commodification” or the Americanized, “commoditization” mean exactly?

In a prescient 2008 book review of Nicholas Carr’s The Google Enigma (entitled “Google the Destroyer“), antitrust scholar Jim DeLong gives an elegant explanation:

Carr’s Google Enigma made a familiar business…

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