During the gig at the ABC on Friday, Fran Healy did his fair share of chatting between songs - as he always does.

Of course, he mentioned that their new ablum Ode to J Smith was up for release this week and hoped we would like the new material as much as the band did.  They seem really excited about this new record which is good to see, and it’s a shame that due to fashions and trends it’s unlikely to be heard by any large number of people due to a lack of airplay.

Fran also touched on this - obviously every artist wants their work to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, and both the artist and their record company want these people to have paid for the priviledge.  We’ve seen in the news over recent months that record companies are really clamping down hard on people who either offer content up for illegal download or indeed do more than their fair share of downloading themselves.

However, Fran’s take on it is different as during the gig he claimed the band didn’t really mind if we all went home and downloaded the new songs from LimeWire or somewhere similar.

A strange move?  On the face of it, I think it is however his reasoning may be right.

As he put it, there are a core number of people who will either go out and buy a physical copy of the album on CD or who will pay to download it from somewhere like iTunes.  However there will also be a number of people who for one reason or another simply won’t go to the expense of forking out hard earned cash on an album they may not like anyway so they will opt to download it illegally.  Fran doesn’t see these as lost sales as he doesn’t think they would have bought it had the download not been available, and I assume they would rather their work was heard by these people even if Fran & Co get nothing in return.

He confesses that when he was young, he and his friends used to share their albums around so that one copy bought would actually be recorded for everyone.  This is pretty much the same “problem” we have today except nowadays the sharing can be done over a huge area, literally all around the world instead of all around the playground at school.

I think in the long run it will be easier for an established band like Travis to think in this way, but what about new bands without a few quid in the bank?  Presumably they need all the sales they can get!

No doubt record labels spend a fortune enticing in new acts and then promoting them here there and everywhere so I think it’s understandable that they take a dim view on lost sales.

With this record however, Travis are releasing it on their own record label so they don’t have any complications there with pressure coming from the label to have a set number of sales - nor presumably can we expect anyone to come knocking on the door should we download it illegally from somewhere.

In fact, Fran actively encouraged it - however, I think I’ll stick to buying a copy.  After all, it’s only right to show your appreciation for a job well done.