Though his recent statements are unlikely to shock the many young music fans who grew up downloading albums and songs illegally, many were surprised when Neil Young said he didn’t really mind piracy.
“It doesn’t affect me because I look at the internet as the new radio,” Young said at a recent conference. “I look at the radio as gone … Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around … That’s the radio. If you really want to hear it, let’s make it available, let them hear it, let them hear the 95 percent of it.”
Young also invoked Steve Jobs to illustrate his point, noting that while Jobs was pivotal in the digitization of music, the late Apple CEO would listen to vinyl at home.
Vigorous anti-piracy efforts in the United States and abroad continue to dominate tech headlines. The founder of Pirate Bay, one of the web’s most popular torrent websites, was recently arrested in Cambodia and sent back to his native Sweden, where he’s facing a one-year jail sentence.
It’s worth noting that Young’s new message is a slightly different tune than the one he was singing three years ago, when he blasted YouTube for not paying him and Warner Music Group for hosting their songs.
In January, Young defended both record companies and pirates, while appearing to be most concerned with the quality of the music being delivered to consumers, arguing that CDs and digital downloads offered a dismal listening experience.