Over the last few years we’ve reported on many artists who’ve spoken out about piracy. Some did so in a positive or at least pragmatic way, but others including Lily Allen launched a direct assault on everything file-sharing related.
The first group of artists is now joined by UK rock legend Liam Gallagher who, in his characteristic thoughtful commenting style, discussed some of the pros and cons of file-sharing. Illegal downloaders don’t bother him, he told Shortlist in an interview, adding that he is annoyed by big artists who complain about piracy.
“Downloading’s the same as what I used to do – I used to tape the charts of the songs I liked [off the radio]. I don’t mind it,” Gallagher said about his past as a copyright infringer.
“I hate all these big, silly rock stars who moan – at least they’re fuckin’ downloading your music, you cunt, and paying attention, know what I mean? You should fuckin’ appreciate that – what are you moaning about? You’ve got fuckin’ five big houses, so shut up,” he added.
Although it could have been framed more delicately, Liam does have a point. It is far from obvious that music piracy is actually hurting sales. If it doesn’t, piracy is only broadening the fanbase of an artists at no cost, and that can never be a bad thing.
Then again, a comment like Liam’s is easy to make for someone who has already sold more than 50 million albums during his career.
Liam’s brother Noel, who is the former lead guitarist of Oasis, has made similar comments in the past. Although Noel admitted to be a complete computer illiterate, he went on record stating that he doesn’t mind people passing along his work for free online.
“If people are willing to have faceless CDs like that in their collection, good for them. It would be absolutely ludicrous for a rock-star to demand that people pay money for albums because the kids haven’t got that much money to pay for an album, so if they can find it for free, go ahead!”
It’s needless to say that many Oasis fans have taken this advice from the Gallagher brothers to heart. The most popular download on BitTorrent at the moment is the band’s discography, which is still getting thousands of new downloads every week.