The Who man says that the tech giant should do more for musicians
Townshend was speaking at the inaugural John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival in Manchester yesterday when he took aim at the download industry and the way that it fails artists.
"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 asked.
He offered advice to Apple, saying that it should employ A&R executives from the "dying record business" to give guidance on new acts and help nurture the best new music.
He also took time to slam illegal downloaders, saying that people who downloaded his music without paying for it "may as well come and steal my son's bike while they're at it.” If someone "pretends that something I have created should be available to them free... I wonder what has gone wrong with human morality and social justice."
But he also told the audience: "It's tricky to argue for the innate value of copyright from a position of good fortune, as I do. I've done all right," adding, "A creative person would prefer their music to be stolen and enjoyed than ignored. This is the dilemma for every creative soul: he or she would prefer to starve and be heard than to eat well and be ignored."
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