Yorke, 41, who made his fortune from six albums recorded with EMI, has told talented young musicians to make it on their own without the help of massive recording contracts.
He offers the pessimistic advice in a rare interview for a new school textbook in which he is asked what advice he would give teenagers who wanted to make a difference with their music.
Yorke claims the mainstream music industry is dying and that this will be â€œno great loss to the worldâ€ before telling aspiring musicians not to tie themselves to the â€œsinking shipâ€.
Yorke suggests it will be â€œonly a matter of time â€” months rather than years â€” before the music business establishment completely foldsâ€. After recording six albums with EMI, Radiohead split acrimoniously from the label when they failed to agree new terms.
In 2007, the band released their seventh album, In Rainbows, as an internet download for which fans could pay whatever they felt was appropriate.
Yorke was speaking to the authors of a new textbook for citizenship studies, The Rax Active Citizenship Toolkit, which aims to inspire young people to become more politically literate.
EMI’s new executive chairman today claimed the label was on a â€œfirm foundation for growthâ€ despite its debts. Charles Allen said EMI, which owes its bank, Citigroup, about Â£3 billion, has more than trebled cash generation at its recorded music division.