Pete Townshend of The Who calls Apple's iTunes a "digital vampire"

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Just in time for Halloween, artist Pete Townshend of The Who has branded Apple's music business a "digital vampire," suggesting that iTunes profits from music without giving popular artists all the benefits they enjoyed under the record labels and music publishers.



In a report by the Associated Press, Townshend decried "the Internet's demolition of established copyright protections" and said Apple should replace the services formerly offered to musicians by the music business before it largely collapsed.



His demands included "employing talents scouts, giving space to allow bands to stream their music and paying smaller artists directly rather than through a third party aggregator," although the resources to pay for talent scouts has always been handled by labels; iTunes doesn't act as a label for the music it sells any more than other retailers such as Walmart or Best Buy or record stores act as labels.



Additionally, Apple "works with" any individual artist or group that sets up their own label as a music publisher, and does not require that artists sell their music through a "third party aggregator," unless that artist is already exclusively represented by a label and isn't free to sell their own work.



Townshend made his comments during the inaugural John Peel Lecture, adding that Apple's iTunes market "bleeds [artists] like a digital vampire."



At the same time, Townshend also blamed customers for not paying more, saying, "It would be better if music lovers treated music like food, and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them," adding, "why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?"



Over the past decade, Townshend has matured from rockstar to businessman, extensively licensing classic songs from the 1960s and 70s as advertisements, ranging from selling headlights with "I Can See For Miles" to selling Pepsi with "My Generation."



Townshend has released 11 albums with "The Who," and another 12 as a solo artist, and is worth an estimated $75 million.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 107
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Whine, whine, whine.



    No explanation of why Apple should be "employing talents scouts, giving space to allow bands to stream their music and paying smaller artists directly rather than through a third party aggregator,"



    He also neglects to mention that with iTunes, the artist keeps 70% while with a typical label they get a much smaller percentage.
  • Reply 2 of 107
    And to think that in all my 53 years I thought artists were just in it for the sex, drugs and Rock 'n' Roll.
  • Reply 3 of 107
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I like ya, Townsend, but if you don't like the distributor then don't distribute through them.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    His demands included "employing talents scouts, giving space to allow bands to stream their music and paying smaller artists directly rather than through a third party aggregator," although the resources to pay for talent scouts has always been handled by labels; iTunes doesn't act as a label for the music it sells any more than other retailers such as Walmart or Best Buy or record stores act as labels.



    Additionally, Apple "works with" any individual artist or group that sets up their own label as a music publisher, and does not require that artists sell their music through a "third party aggregator," unless that artist is already exclusively represented by a label and isn't free to sell their own work.



    It's sad how oblivious Townsend is to what the iTunes Store does.



    Quote:

    At the same time, Townshend also blamed customers for not paying more, saying, "It would be better if music lovers treated music like food, and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them," adding, "why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?"



    1) The iTMS helped stave off people stealing music online, not encourage it.



    2) The food analogy is pretty bad considering the commonality and success of the fast food restaurant industries dollar menu.
  • Reply 4 of 107
    Sounds like Townshend is a digital dinosaur. He seems to think that things would be just like they used to be if it weren't for iTunes, but they would probably be worse. In most cases, if people weren't buying music on iTunes, they'd be stealing it.
  • Reply 5 of 107
    Pay for every helping? Pay for music like food??? News flash: music is not food. So Pete Townsend wants to charge us money everytime we listen to a song? That's his brilliant solution?
  • Reply 6 of 107
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Whine, whine, whine.



    No explanation of why Apple should be "employing talents scouts, giving space to allow bands to stream their music and paying smaller artists directly rather than through a third party aggregator,"



    He also neglects to mention that with iTunes, the artist keeps 70% while with a typical label they get a much smaller percentage.



    Put him next to Bon Jovi as another one who opens their mouth without any looking into what iTunes really does.
  • Reply 7 of 107
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post


    Sounds like Townshend is a digital dinosaur.



    Analogaurus?

    Vinyloraptor?

    Eight-tracktiopod?



    Thats all I got.
  • Reply 8 of 107
    How convenient for Pete. He wants to go back to the old ways for all the perks for himself, but he wants to change the rules for fans and charge them EVERY TIME they want to listen for a song.



    How is he any less greedy than the folks he berates?
  • Reply 9 of 107
    Oh, for Pete's sake.
  • Reply 10 of 107
    Hey, the record labels should have told Apple to go straight to hell with their ala carte business model. But no! They hoped on board the yellow submarine like they always do. The record labels are notorious for allowing the tech industry to dictate what medium their music should go on.



    And to add insult to injury, the tech guys make the electronic gear needed to copy the music onto the medium that the music is distributed on readily available to the public.
  • Reply 11 of 107
    The self righteousness of his attitude amazes me. On the surface he bashes iTunes, yet when you actualy look at what he's saying he is just mad he doesn't get "his" like he used to.







    Sounds like he doesn't want anyone to own any music and that you have to pay per listen.
  • Reply 12 of 107
    I'd consider these to be the actions of a digital vampire:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_To...police_caution
  • Reply 13 of 107
    swiftswift Posts: 436member
    Silicon Valley takes over the delivery of movies, music and all the rest. You want these business dinosaurs to run things?



    When there are 5 or 10 digital distributors, world-wide, and lots of ways of getthing them to sell and promote you, then the individual artists will be very well treated. I'm not sure they'll become the mega-millionaires of the time of the Beatles and the Stones -- they were the first and last rock stars to be independently wealthy frrom their work. But yeah, have a hit, take several million as a cut for the sales.



    When's the last WHO concert they gave?
  • Reply 14 of 107
    1) iTunes is essentially a retailer, not a music label. It shouldn't have any more involvement with the artists beyond that expected of a record store or a Target. Talent scout?



    2) iTunes, selling legitimate music, basically saved the music industry from piracy. It KEEPS people from stealing music, it doesn't encourage it. I think he has it backwards on this one.



    3) Prices are determined by the market. Apparently, paying $23 for an 10-track CD was artificially high.
  • Reply 15 of 107
    Just another out of touch dinosaur who's not in it for the music anymore, just for the money.





    Oh, and also:



    "Rock legend Pete Townshend has admitted paying to view a child pornography site on the internet but said he did so "just to see what was there"."



    Good excuse
  • Reply 16 of 107
    Hey Pete I'm more than willing to take that 75mil burdon off ur back
  • Reply 17 of 107
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 18 of 107
    First, people aren't stealing - they are committing copyright infringement. There is a big difference. No one loses something when a song is illegally copied, which is required for theft. Not to say that copyright infringement isn't bad, it is - it just isn't stealing.



    Second, the recording industry has had a hell of a time adjusting to the fact that they aren't nearly as needed as they once were. The encoding and distribution of an MP3 song is practically free compared to the old days when a record, tape, or CD had to be manufactured and shipped all over the world. Yet, they still want the same profit.



    So Pete Townsend - while you are highly respected as a musician, you are missing that it is the record companies are demanding too high of profit relative to their importance in the music distribution process, which I am guessing results in less income for artists. Don't blame the fans, look at your middleman - they are taking too much.



    Seems to me that an investor could go out, find talent, promote said talent, and distribute the music for far less than what is even charged on iTunes today, with the artists making more money than they do today, and with a smart investor making good returns.



    Lady Gaga's latest album premiered on Amazon for $1. Amazon sells MP3's without copy protection and her album could have easily been distributed by friends after only 1 person bought it. But you know what? Amazon's huge data services couldn't handle the load of people wanting to buy the album, and many MANY people bought it.



    There is a price out there people want to pay for an album or song, the music industry just doesn't want to go down to where it is. They had their day in the sun when distribution was hard - but now it is easy and they have failed to adjust to the times and technology.



    Pete Townsend, I am afraid you just don't understand - so please spend your rock God capital on reworking the record company, not the fans - or Apple and iTunes.
  • Reply 19 of 107
    sipsip Posts: 210member
    Probably a bit high from using illegal substances. Musicians get paid by the recording companies, so if he has a gripe, he should approach them.



    Do The Who still hold copyright on their material? Maybe he needs some royalties to get the drugs.
  • Reply 20 of 107
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    From the article:



    That's a slick defense. I'm sure if 99% of the population used the same defense, they would just be given a simple warning as well.



    "I wasn't buying these drugs to use them, I was buying them to see how easy it was to buy drugs to help fight drug dealers."
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