Well, we finally have an answer. Months ago, I posted this PSA by Kid Rock. Many fans and viewers seemed to be confused as to what he is advocating or condemning exactly. He first condemned record companies for suing kids, offering sentiments such as “I’m fucking rich, so how can I bitch about people downloading a song or two?” Then, he switched gears… and let us know that it’s okay with him if we steal cars and iPods. He ends with a puff of a cigar and a joke. Was he likening stealing music to stealing cars? Which half of the PSA was sarcasm? Everyone had a different idea. When you factored in the 2009 lawsuit by Kid Rock and Dave Grohl against a smalltown bar in Ohio for playing his music without proper licensing, it seemed that Kid Rock may be anti-piracy – but no one was sure.
I’ve just unearthed commentary by Kid Rock from 2008 that gives us a definitive answer – illegal downloads don’t concern him.
Back in the day, we all know the stories of the Otis Reddings and Chuck Berrys and Fats Dominos who never got paid. So the internet was an opportunity for everyone to be treated fairly, for the consumer to get a fair price, for the artist to be paid fairly, for the record companies to make some money. But they stuck to the old system. [But] I’ve just sold a million records, I’m not really feeling that blow.
Kid Rock told BBC of a time when Atlantic Records asked him to speak out against file-sharing because, as Atlantic says, “people are stealing from us and stealing from you”. He says:
And I go: ‘Wait a second, you’ve been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?’… I was telling kids download it illegally, I don’t care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live. I don’t agree with it. I think we should level the playing field. I don’t mind people stealing my music, that’s fine. But I think they should steal everything. You know how much money the oil companies have? If you need some gas, just go fill your tank off and drive off, they’re not going to miss it. No, I don’t steal things. I’m rich.”
So there he goes again, echoing the same sentiments as the PSA – steal everything – in a serious interview with the BBC. Well… that’s one angle we hadn’t yet heard from an artist.