Iggy Pop took on free music and U2 at the annual John Peel Lecture at Radio Festival 2014.
Pop opened his hour-long talk in Salford by criticising U2’s controversial decision to give their new album Song Of Innocence away via iTunes.
He said: “The people who don’t want the free U2 download Songs Of Innocence are trying to say, ‘Don’t try to force me.’ And they’ve got a point. Part of the process when you buy something from an artist, it’s kind of an anointing, you are giving people love. It’s your choice to give or withhold. You felt like they were robbed of that chance and they have a point.”
Pop tackled a range of topics during his speech, including his own history, the music industry, piracy and new digital music business models, like the one used by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
Yorke recently released his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent. The system provides fans with the ability to download some free material while paying a small price for the bulk of a new release.
Pop added: “I actually think that what Thom Yorke has done with BitTorrent is very good. I was gonna say here, ‘Sure the guy is a pirate at Bit Torrent’ but I was warned legally, so I’ll say, ‘Sure the guy at Bit Torrent is a pirate’s friend’. But all pirates want to go legit, just like I wanted to be respectable. It’s normal.
“After a while people feel like you’re a crook, it’s too hard to do business. So it’s good in this case that Thom Yorke is encouraging a positive change. The music is good. It’s being offered at a low price direct to people who care.”
Pop’s speech was broadcast live on BBC 6 Music, where he’s been hosting a weekly show since March. It will later be shown on BBC Four.
Fans can stream Iggy Pop’s full John Peel Lecture at the BBC here. It can also be downloaded as a podcast.