When Iggy Pop can’t live off his art, what chance do the rest have? | The Globe and Mail

But a new reality has tripped him up and it’s the same one shafting artists all across the world: Namely, that everyone wants to listen, and no one wants to pay. This week, Iggy gave a lecture for the British Broadcasting Corp. called Free Music in a Capitalist Society. Artists have always been ripped off by corporations, he said; now the public is in on the free ride, too: “The cat is out of the bag and the new electronic devices, which estrange people from their morals, also make it easier to steal music than to pay for it.”

To keep skinny body and maverick soul together, Iggy’s become a DJ, a car-insurance pitchman and a fashion model. If he had to live off royalties, he said, he’d have to “tend bars between sets.” As I listened to his enthusiastic stoner Midwestern drawl, I thought: If Iggy Pop can’t make it, what message does that send to all the baby Iggys out there? In a society where worth is judged by price, for better or worse, what are you saying to someone when you won’t pay for the thing he’s crafted?


2 thoughts on “When Iggy Pop can’t live off his art, what chance do the rest have? | The Globe and Mail

  1. This comment–aside from the fact there’s nothing particularly stoner about Iggy’s precise, articulate, humorous and impassioned delivery–by and large misses the point of Iggy’s extraordinary lecture. By taking these sentences out of context, The Trichordist Editor, whoever the hell that is, ignores Iggy’s expression of sympathy, love–and yes, even conditional encouragement–to those who download music for free. In fact, a large portion of his lecture explains the importance of bootlegs and the importance of being able to discover artists for free–and of course how that leads to life-long devotion–and the eventual opening of wallets! What technology has changed–and what Iggy addresses–is the unfortunate dissolution of a veritable “underground” as the platform for this kind of discovery. In any case–everyone should listen to to that extraordinary hour from one of the smartest people ever to front a band. Much more nefarious than millions of kids downloading mp3s for free are the frightened and lost labels cutting deals with the likes of Spotify that “pay” virtually nothing to the artists! (Not to mention the laughable attempt by U2 and Apple pretending to cotton to the kids by imposing their MOR crap for free). That’s one of the things Iggy talks about in his lecture.

  2. You want to know what people value, look at what they spend money on. Music, films, (healthcare?) are things that people think they shouldn’t have to pay for anymore. It’s a sad state of affairs and things will have to change if art in general is to have a future.

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