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Iggy Pop delivers his John Peel Lecture

By | Published on Tuesday 14 October 2014

Iggy Pop

So Iggy Pop – you know, the Iggy with the Pop – gave his John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival yesterday. It’s a rather long meandering affair, but definitely worth a listen nevertheless, as he discusses in a roundabout way the tension between music the artform and music the business, and the uneasy alliance that is required between the two. Plenty of people are bigged up as good guys, while the bad guys he references are generally left anonymous.

Amongst the modern good guys, Pop reckoned midway through the proceedings, are the indie labels of 2014, who definitely won his support both for their Fair Deals Declaration, and in their battle for a better deal from YouTube. Said Pop: “Almost all the best music is coming out on indies today like XL, Matador, Burger, Anti, Epitaph, Mute, Rough Trade, 4AD, Sub Pop, etc etc. But now YouTube is trying to put the squeeze on these people because it’s just easier for a power nerd to negotiate with a couple big labels who own the kind of music that people listen to when they’re really not that into music, which of course is most people”.

“So they’ve got the numbers” he continued. “But the indies kind of have the guns. I’ve noticed that indies are showing strength at some of the established streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody – people are choosing that music. And it’s also great that some people are starting their own outlets, like PledgeMusic, Bandcamp or Drip. As the commercial trade swings more into general showbiz the indies will be the only place to go for new talent, outside the Mickey Mouse Club, so I think they were right to band together and sign the Fair Digital Deals Declaration”.

Pop shared various concerns about the impact the internet has had on the music industry, and an artist’s ability to make money in the digital age, though was by no means positioning all digital platforms in the bad guy camp. Indeed, the crux of his speech seemed to be, that artists have always had to navigate the good and the bad of the business world to make music for a living and to get their output to the masses, and the addition of the digital industry simply meant there is a whole lot more to navigate. Though, I think Pop’s raconteuring last night proved, that in itself can be quite an adventure.

You can listen back to Pop’s full speech here, or read the transcript here.