Pete Townshend: iTunes Is A Bloodthirsty "Digital Vampire"

The music industry has been good to Pete Townshend. The Who honcho is an extremely rich guy. But for young, nascent acts? He thinks the biz is a hostile place, thanks mainly to iTunes, which "bleeds" their work dry.

That's quite an accusation from the rock deity. The BBC says his main beef is the New Music Industry's lack of "support" for new acts, which apparently need to be nurtured and were treated like bouncy grinning children in the old days: "Is there really any good reason why, just because iTunes exists in the wild west internet land of Facebook and Twitter, it can't provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire, like a digital Northern Rock, for its enormous commission?"

Digital vampire! Townshend says Apple should hire a fulltime staff to coach and advise young artists before taking a cut of their earnings. Which sounds nice, yes, but is a total pipe dream. And moreover, doesn't it really defeat the purpose of the 21st century music industry's dropped-bottom floor? Profits have collapsed, but so has the front door—"making it" is easier thanks to online distribution. Sociopath rap phenom Tyler, The Creator was just a kid from California before his debut release hit #3 on iTunes' top albums. Anecdotal, sure, but the notion that iTunes (or any other MP3 store, for that matter) is somehow more exploitative than the record industry old guard is silly. The kids can take care of themselves quite fine—and if they can't, being able to sell their music through one of the few viable digital outlets sure isn't the problem. [BBC]

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