Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker doesn’t blame people for illegally downloading music

The experience of the music is what matters, Kevin Parker tells BBC Radio 6

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker thinks it’s a waste of time and energy to try to force people to pay for music they could get for free, he told BBC Radio 6 in a recent interview.

How much you pay for music doesn’t really matter, he said. The effect of the music itself is more important than any physical price.

“There are some CDs that I saved up for for months when I was doing a paper round when I was a kid … obviously when I got the CD it was the most amazing thing ever,” Parker said. “But then later on in life, my friend had burned me a CD they’d downloaded illegally, and it was just as much of a powerful experience.”

Although he realizes that artists have to make money somehow, Parker says there are other ways that musicians can make that happen. Here’s what he said to the BBC’s Mary Anne Hobbs about illegal downloading:

“I don’t blame them. I used to download music illegally. Everyone has. No one is innocent. Everyone has done that. If someone says, ‘Hey man, I love your album, it really got me through a breakup, but I downloaded it for free,’ I’ll be like, ‘Good! That’s good!’ Maybe he didn’t have the money for the album, but if he still listened to it and it meant something to him and it was an important part of his life, then that’s all I can ever hope for and ask for. I don’t want his twenty bucks. There are other ways to get money in music. Like an ad for a car or a phone company or something. Good money. If people are willing to not rag out on artists for using their music in ads and movies and stuff, then I’m cool with them getting it for free. Because then it just means that the corporations are paying for it. And they’re the ones with the money.”

Parker did stop short of saying that all music should be free, but said that illegal downloading isn’t going anywhere.

“I guess I’m not saying that music should be free. But if people can do it for free, then there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. It’s kind of a waste of energy to try and force them to pay for it if they don’t have to.”