Steve Knightley on embracing 'piracy'
Steve Knightley writes:
After any show we can always be found chatting to our audience, signing stuff and generally hanging out by the CD table. I always make a point of asking people how they first heard about us. The three most common answers are...
...they've been 'dragged' along by friends; they heard us on the radio; or someone gave them a copy of one of our CDs.
This last one is usually accompanied by a look of collective guilt and embarrassment. Let's consider this more closely - a person who values our music has kindly made a copy of a CD and gone out of their way to spread the word about us. That recipient has then bought both a ticket to see us and a CD on the night. Now you may call this process 'piracy' if you wish - for me it is an act of generosity and both increases our audience size and record sales. And as I always say on the night - if you're going to do it anyway you may as well feel good about it!
Likewise if people wish to film a show we rarely object. Out of courtesy they should ask us and ensure that they don't interfere with others enjoyment of the night but it's yet another way of using technology to reach more people with your music. I believe the official term is 'viral marketing' and we depend utterly upon it.
Music is an aural medium and apart from a few shows and presenters our folk/acoustic genre gets a pretty raw deal on the airwaves. You need to be seen and heard and now through CD burning, YouTube, Facebook and a whole host of media it's possible as never before.
Don't fight it - embrace it.