The radio was tuned to BBC 6 Music a few nights ago and so I was fortunate to hear Iggy Pop deliver the 2014 John Peel lecture, he chose to speak about ‘Free Music in a Capitalist Society’. His talk is an engaging interesting piece of work and it’s available to replay and download here for a short while yet. I also recorded the session on TV and sat down to watch it yesterday. Although Mr Pop (we are not on first name terms yet) was addressing the music/entertainment industry – I got a lot from what he said and wanted to share a few things with you. These aren’t direct quotes as such – I was just enjoying watching the talk and at the same time, trying to pick up a few interesting threads.
On being yourself: If you are who you are, that is really hard to steal, and being you takes you in interesting directions when the road gets blocked, and it will. You are better off with your own identity.
On getting ripped off: I loved my vinyl bootlegs – they did a lot for me. The packaging was often way more creative than the official stuff. Bootlegs moved beyond both the industry and the artist. But now – everyone’s a bootlegger – we are swapping the corporate ripoff for a public ripoff. Devices estrange people from their morals. Thieving is bad, but so many people are broke and abandoned, who am I to say you can’t watch some shitty movie for free after you’ve worked yourself hard all day for almost no money?
On not getting stuck: Diversify – streams dry up. Don’t complain about it, survive it.
On getting paid: So how do you engage society as an artist and get paid? It’s a matter of art, endurance and study. Be curious, find smarter people to learn from. I don’t worry too much about what I get paid for any given thing – I never expected much in the first place.
On the little guy: Youtube, Spotify, they have the numbers. And the indies have the guns.
On giving: Give freely, not in the hope of reciprocal profit, but out of self respect.
On life: Dream – be generous, pursuit is better than arrival. Diversify, stay away from drugs (pause for laughs) and talent judges. Get organised, do better than me. Hang on to hopes, hang on to who you are.
If you can find the time – please check the talk out and let me know what you think, and what you take away from it too.