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Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker explains why it’s OK for music to be free

on September 21, 2015, 3:15pm

Photo by Philip Cosores

Back in April, Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker weighed in on debate over streaming music services. “I feel like music will be free sooner or later, and I think I’m all for it,” he admitted.

“There’s all this talk of music needing a monetary value, this ownership of music, even that it needs a physical form. But intrinsically… it’s MUSIC, it should be better than that,” Parker continued. “Some of my most important musical experiences were from a burnt CD with songs my friend downloaded for me at a terrible digital quality… I didn’t care… it changed my life all the same. For me the value of music is the value you extract from it.”

Now, in a new interview with BBC Radio 6’s Mary Anne Hobbs (via Pitchfork), Parker expanded on that stance. “I guess I’m not saying that I think music should be free, but I do think that if people can get it for free, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” he said.

Parker compared people’s current listening experiences with his own (when he was younger he would either buy CDs or illegally download files), leading him to the conclusion that free streaming isn’t harmful to the music itself.

“For me, it just shows that it’s not really about how much you pay for it or even whether or not it’s physical — it can still have the same effect on you. I’m not really sure what that says about artists making money in the future. Like, obviously artists need to make money and stuff like that, but if you do something good or if you make good art or make good stuff, the wealth will find you in some way.”

He added, “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’s an important part of his life, that’s all I can ask for. I don’t want his twenty bucks.”

Listen to the interview segment below.

Tame Impala’s excellent new album, Currents, is out now. For more of Parker’s inner thoughts, read our recent cover story on the band.