Now here’s something you don’t hear every day. A recording artist who sounds like he is applauding music piracy — an activity that has been frowned upon (to say the least) by the recording industry. With roving spies (both human and non-human) scouring the net for illegal copies of popular tunes, and lawsuits filed against downloading grannies (even those that are not still among the living!), Campbell clearly has a different view.
He does point out, however, that he sees music piracy primarily as a benefit for classic acts. and not so much for the groups that are starting out and working to make a name for themselves.
Campbell makes and excellent point. One wonders how many youngsters have discovered the music of groups like Def Leppard or Aerosmith or any number of other classic bands by downloading their music from popular music-sharing sites and networks.
After all, I do not suspect that copies of Dreamboat Annie or Pyromania have been flying off store shelves or flowing in record numbers out of Amazon.com’s warehouses in recent years. With new and younger fans embracing some of this classic groups, it does have the potential to provide them with a source of income from touring. Surely more physically demanding than the rigors of touring, but a buck is a buck, right? You sure as hell can’t download a actual live show now, can you?
Beyond that, I’m sure that some of them, if not the majority of classic artists, enjoy the opportunity to get up in front of a crowd of adoring fans — many of them newly-minted at that!
Classic rockers probably do greatly benefit from the whole piracy thing, and at the same time, we should not underestimate the influence of popular video games like "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Star" for their role in reviving interest in decades-old acts whose music is being featured prominently as part of this new generation of video entertainment.
Classic rock is far from dead, and as strange as it may seem, illegal activity like music sharing probably has a lot to do with keeping it alive, which leaves this writer a little conflicted about the issue. It’s difficult to harbor a lot of resentment towards an activity that may be helping to keep the music of my generation going strong, but then again…
I’m sure record company executives aren’t overjoyed to hear this kind of talk coming from someone like Vivian Campbell, but I think it may be hard to argue that his observation is not correct.
Perhaps those same record company executives are wishing they could silence voices like Campbell’s similar to the way the Chinese government has been silencing protestors during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.