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Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker Considers Whether or Not Music Should Be Free

"It's kind of a waste of energy to try and force them to pay for it if they don't have to."

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker stopped by BBC Radio 6 on Sunday to offer his take regarding whether or not music should be free. Responding to Mary Anne Hobbs’ prompt, Parker took a pretty easygoing stance, saying, “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. It’s kind of a waste of energy to try and force them to pay for it if they don’t have to.”

Parker acknowledged the very real need for an artist to make money, but reasoned that if the product was “good” enough, then “the wealth will find you in some way.”

“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. Not to be kind of overly spiritual about it, but it’s not the kind of thing that’s worth complaining about.”

Parker also admitted to downloading music illegally, saying, “everyone has done that.”

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

The singer-songwriter additionally voiced his support for musicians earning “good money” from song placements in ads and movies, saying, “It just means that the corporations are paying for it, and they’re the ones with the money.” Hear his entire statement below, and listen to the full interview here.

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