Pete Townshend of The Who Calls iTunes a "Digital Vampire"
November 1, 2011 12:26 PM
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Townshend said iTunes profits from music without giving back to the artists that work to create it
Remember when Metallica launched a legal battle against Napster back in 2000, then criticized the iTunes Music Store a few years later for destroying the album format and refused to allow their songs to be sold individually in the online store? Well, Metallica may have gotten over its spat with iTunes by
releasing its songs in the store in 2006
, but that doesn't mean iTunes now holds a loving relationship with all of its artists.
Pete Townshend, the guitarist and songwriter for rock band The Who, called Apple's iTunes a "digital vampire" while delivering the first John Peel Lecture, which was named in honor of the late British radio broadcaster.
iTunes profits from music
without giving back to the artists that work to create it. He offered some suggestions for iTunes, such as offering artists services that music publishers and record labels once provided since the Internet has eliminated many copyright protections. Some services Townshend mentioned were space for bands to stream music, employing talent scouts, and paying smaller artists directly without the use of a third party.
Townshend said iTunes bleeds artists like a digital vampire, and offering these services is the least it could do.
"It would be better if music lovers treated music like food, and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them," said Townshend. "Why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?"
Back in May of this year, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) scored $105 million in a lawsuit against Limewire, which was a free peer-to-peer file sharing program similar to Napster, and was
accused of giving none of the money to artists
. It was later discovered that the RIAA planned to set an unknown amount aside for artists.
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RE: confused much?
11/3/2011 9:21:11 AM
He is greedy. Because his analogy overlooks 1 thing: We can copy that music, but he can copy that music as well. He can sell it again and again while re-making it at no cost at all. If i want another piece of the exact same food, it still has to be grown and transported to my mouth which costs money and effort.
The problem here is a much deeper one: how we humans define value. Currently we consider anything that's scarce as valueble. Quite logical since that is the world we where born and live in. But anything digital isn't scarce. Anything digital can be copied again and again and again at almost 0 cost. When you buy an song on itunes and you download it, you're not taking Apple's file, you're making a copy of your own. (i do say own but it's even debatable if something that has no worth is ownable at all. Technically it doesn't exist)
It's easy to forget that because it's so obvious, but when you replace "song" with "tomato" it suddenly becomes ridicolous. While if you travel back 200 years in time and start explaining downloading to people, the concept of having music anywhere at anytime will seem ridicolous. Yet we haven't evolved in that time, we are still wired to work in the same way.
Same thing with money. 97% of all money is digital. As we know, everything digital is worthless. Thus, money is worthless by definition. Yet everybody still accepts it as payment. It's idiocy, but it works because we are wired to belive it actually holds some value.
These issues will not be resolved until society as a whole can move on and recognise digital stuff for what it is: worthless. It wouldn't automatically mean the breakdown of society. Some industies will get smaller temporarely, sure. But in this case, ironically, music is a shining example of how it can be done in the new world. Record a song and spread it around for free, get known, then do concerts for money. Cut out the record labels and producers entirely, more money for the actual artist. The artist gets paid compared to the quality of his work (better artists can ask more money) and everybody will have more, and better, music.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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