Pete Townshend warns Apple not to be a 'digital vampire'
Published 01/11/2011 | 09:35
The Who guitarist Pete Townshend has urged Apple to come to the aid of the "dying record business" rather than bleed it like a "digital vampire".
The music veteran used his speech at the inaugural John Peel Lecture to decry "the wild west internet land" and called on Apple to find ways to support new musical talent.
He gave eight suggestions for how the digital music industry could fufill some of the roles traditionally held by record labels - including providing "creative nurture" and employing talent scouts to spot upcoming acts.
"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?" he said.
He laid into the culture of illegally downloading music, saying people "may as well come and steal my son's bike while they're at it".
"The word 'sharing' surely means giving away something you have earned, or made, or paid for?" he added.
But despite the erosion of musician's incomes through illegal downloading, Townshend admitted that "a creative person would prefer their music to be stolen and enjoyed than ignored."
Townshend paid tribute to BBC DJ John Peel, who died in 2004, for being prepared to champion unheard of groups.
"Sometimes he played some records that no-one else would ever have played, and that would never be played on radio again," he said.
"But he listened, and he played a selection of records in the course of each week that his listeners knew - partly because the selection was sometimes so insane - proved he was genuinely engaged in his work as an almost unconditional conduit between creative musicians like me to the radio audience."
The lecture is the first of an annual speech given by a music figure in honour of Peel. It was held at the Lowry theatre in Salford.