On air Listen


« Previous | Main | Next »

Steve Knightley on embracing 'piracy'

Mike Harding | 10:36 UK time, Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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.



  • Comment number 1.

    Billy Bragg was talking the other Saturday morning to Mark Lamarr and Jo Brand about how downloading and CDR copying isn't all that different to recording singles from Pick of the Pops and making cassette tapes for friends. It is just that the technology has changed and it has all got easier. He didn't see much wrong with it either, in that it mainly leads to eventual sales.

    However, what he then pointed out was that in THIS World, Record Companies are doing far less work and the balance in the remuneration between them and the artist probably has to change.

  • Comment number 2.

    Noel Gallagher, speaking to Zane Lowe on Radio 1 last Tuesday was sort of in agreement too:

    “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! But don’t do it on Oasis records though - because that’s against the law...
    ...Pinch as many Kaiser Chiefs as you like - and the Pigeon Detectives - but don’t nick any Oasis!”


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.