Iggy Pop: “If I Depended on Record Sales I’d Be Tending Bars”


Iggy Pop delivered the fourth annual John Peel Lecture for the BBC at Radio Festival 2014. Quotes from this speech were transcribed by The Guardian and The Independent.

“I think people are just a little bit bored, and more than a little bit broke. No money. Especially simple working people who have been totally left out, screwed and abandoned.


If I had to depend on what I actually get from sales I’d be tending bars between sets.”

“There is a general atmosphere [in the music business] of resentment, pressure, kind of strange perpetual war, and I think prosecuting some college kid because she or he shared a file is a lot like sending somebody to Australia a couple of hundred years ago for poaching his lordship’s rabbit. That’s how it must seem to poor people who just want to watch a crappy movie for free.”

13 Responses

  1. Chris H

    Those Chrysler ads must pay well. Good thing you sold enough records previously to have a credibility chip to cash in and not tend bar.

  2. David

    I prefer this quote:

    “But now everybody is a bootlegger and not so cute as before and there are people out there just stealing stuff and saying, ‘Don’t try to force me to pay,’ and that act of thieving will become a habit, and that’s bad for everybody.”

    He said musicians who had previously suffered at the hands of record labels and executives who had taken all the profits were now being penalised by the digitally empowered public. “We are exchanging the corporate rip-off for the public one, aided by power nerds, kind of ‘computer Putins’. They just want to get rich and powerful” ”

    Whoever could he mean?

    • rikki

      who does he mean ……by black people of course can you name even one black person sued by the RIAA for stealing music or selling hard drives full of mp3’son Ebay?…….. i cant

      • GGG

        Yea…damn those black people, always getting off easy when it comes to our law enforcement and judicial system.

  3. Versus

    “That’s how it must seem to poor people who just want to watch a crappy movie for free.”

    If it’s crappy, then don’t watch it. If you still want to watch it, then you must consider it worthwhile, so pay for it.

    Otherwise, why don’t I just take anything I want for free under the justification that I’m poor?

  4. Anonymous

    who wants to engage society? either way… i sure dont, i wanna be as far away from it as possible… 🙂

  5. Jeff Robinson

    Not a single germaine statement from Iggy in that article.

    OUT-of-TOUCH dinosaur still using talking points from the year 2000.

    • David

      “We are now talking about Megaupload, Kim Dot Com, big money, political power, and varying definitions of theft that are legally way over my head. But I know a con man when I see one.”

      Isn’t that up-to-date enough for you?

    • Dandy

      there is nothing out of touch about this, it’s not a Napster versus Ulrich scenario anymore, you need to take a look at the bigger picture and appreciate the points that are being raised but in the context of the damage file sharing has done to smaller players, the majors have recovered, but the independent music model has be razed, small labels used to be able to actually sustain their activities through unit sales, now it’s nigh impossible, this is not a healthy situation and is quite simply bad for music, the majors are back on top after a decade of uncertainty, and that’s only because they had the financial clout to ride out the storm, adapt, and then dictate the new terms of the music market place, there is nothing in this for smaller players.

  6. P

    I always find it funny when established artists comment on this. As a few have alluded to already, they already made a name for themselves back when the music industry was booming. And the credibility they have from those days helps them tour time and time again and get syncs on commercials and hey even be a keynote speaker at a bbc event, woo!

    I like Iggy Pop, I’m not saying he couldn’t be successful if he started up today as a young musician. I just think it would give them a much, much different perspective. As much as I love Dave Grohl he’s the same way.


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