Iggy Pop Addresses Piracy In John Peel Lecture


Last night (Monday October 13th) Iggy Pop delivered the annual John Peel lecture. Listen to it in full over on iPlayer.

Pop, who has spent the last year enjoying a stint as a 6music presenter, used his lecture to deliver a rambling, informal examination of the music industry. From opening by declaring that "The Stooges we were organized as a group of Utopian communists," Pop went on to detail his general disgust with record company executives – "a good LP is a being, it's not a product. It has a life-force, a personality, and a history, just like you and me. It can be your friend. Try explaining that to a weasel," before highlighting a few characters who saw as good guys (Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel, for the record).

At the heart of his talk was a rumination on the nature of music as an increasingly free product. Whilst he seemed to have a vague disapproval of piracy, he had a stronger reaction against the society that created a piracy culture, saying –

"So is the thieving that big a deal? Ethically, yes, and it destroys people because it's a bad road you take. But I don't think that's the biggest problem for the music biz. I think people are just a little bit bored, and more than a little bit broke. No money. Especially simple working people who have been totally left out, screwed and abandoned. If I had to depend on what I actually get from sales I’d be tending bars between sets. I mean honestly it’s become a patronage system. There’s a lot of corps involved and I don’t fault any of them but it’s not as much fun as playing at the Music Machine in Camden Town in 1977. There is a general atmosphere of resentment, pressure, kind of strange perpetual war, dripping on all the time. And I think that prosecuting some college kid because she shared a file is a lot like sending somebody to Australia 200 years ago for poaching his lordship's rabbit. That's how it must seem to poor people who just want to watch a crappy movie for free after they’ve been working themselves to death all day at Tesco or whatever, you know."