Anderson: I always thought music should be cheaper

Former Yes singer Jon Anderson says he always wanted music to be cheaper to buy – and he was often told to keep quiet about his opinion.

But he’s retained the belief that it’s more important to help people connect to his work than to profit from it.

Anderson tells Prog’s Mark Blake: “I’ve always thought that music should be for everybody. I remember when the whole thing started with downloads, and people talking about paying for this and not paying for that. I always thought music should be cheaper.”

Even before the internet era, he felt CD prices were too high. “I used to say they should be two dollars each, and in the bargain bin at Woolworths, so we could reach more people,” he recalls.

That always drew ire from then-manager Brian Lane. “Brian used to go crazy – ‘No, Jon, never ever say that! Don’t you ever dare say that!’”

Anderson’s thoughts extended to live performance. “There was a promoter who wanted to put Yes on a bill with another big band. We could have made so much money – but I wouldn’t do it.

“Yes needs two and a half hours to get going. You need the full Yes experience. The promoter was going crazy – ‘You got to do it, Jon.’ But the more he said that, the more I said, ‘I don’t think so.’

“It used to drive Brian crazy when I’d say, ‘We’re going to do four 20-minute pieces on stage tonight.’ He’d say, ‘Why, Jon? You could make millions if you wanted to.’ But I’d say, ‘No, Brian, it’s all about the music.’”

The singer rejects the idea of winding up “on my yacht having champagne,” saying: “I never wanted to do that. Money is great, don’t get me wrong – but let’s not just live because of money.”

The full interview appears in the current edition of Prog, on sale now in print, digital and via TeamRock+.

The Prog Interview: Jon Anderson

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.