Andrew WK gives a very extensive answer regarding his own listening preferences, fans that torrent his music, and the role of the music business:
“I haven’t illegally downloaded for the last three to four years, but I did quite a bit when Napster first came around. . . MP3s sound different to me, they don’t sound worse. I don’t know how I would judge that. There are things about it that I think sound really neat. . . I stopped downloading illegally not because of an ethical conflict, although there was that, but more that I said, ‘At this point, I’m not enjoying this way of experiencing music.’ It seemed dissonant to be sitting at my computer. I could burn it onto a CD so I could listen to it on my stereo, but I was unable to shake the connection and context of the song coming from the computer and that it had been completely separated from the person who made it and their intent. There’s something about picking up a CD, taking it out of its case, seeing the album title and artwork on the CD, and seeing the album title and artwork in the case. It’s very easy to say, “Yeah, that’s a small part of it,” but it has a very significant place in the listening of music. I don’t think it’s important, but I don’t think it can be discounted as part of the experience. . .
I don’t have any judgments about it and certainly don’t hold it against anybody for downloading my music. Do I appreciate it when people buy it to support me? Absolutely. But do I hold it against people if they don’t pay for it? No. Ultimately, my interest is to make music and not to sell music. The reason that I work with record companies is because their interest is to sell music. . . there’s this big fight that business and art can’t mix. . . I feel really happy with all of my experiences in the music business, but I don’t judge myself or anyone else as successful in music based on the business side. Someone could say, ‘That’s a very successful artist,’ and I’d say, ‘He’s a very successful business man. He’s made a great deal of money.’ What has been sacrificed on the artistic side to make that money is always relevant. A more impressive accomplishment would be if they feel that they haven’t sacrificed any of their integrity in order to be successful in business.
When it comes to downloading, since my main interest and what has motivated me for as long as I remember has not been purely the business of it, it would be hypocritical for me to be angry at, resent people, or feel like I’ve been stolen from. All I can really ask for is that people want to hear the music. I leave it up to them to do what they think is right or what they feel like doing.”