Digital Vampires: Pete Townshend’s View on iTunes

Pete Townshend

No, Digital Vampires isn’t the name of some awesome new electronic goth rock band from Los Angeles (well it might be). It’s actually what Pete Townshend, guitarist of The Who, thinks of iTunes. This was during the inaugural John Peel Lecture in Salford, England.

Accoridng to him, Apple is a “digital vampire” that is “bleeding” artists and somehow destroying copyright as we know it. Okay, I can’t trash talk him too much. After all, he’s far more successful than I am. I have no room to speak on that front. That said, I feel he may have the wrong idea.

He also seems to believe that iTunes should also be like more of a label, but I think he’s missing the point. iTunes is just a music store. All they are handling is putting it on their virtual shelves. I myself am a musician (not a great one) but it seems some people enjoy the stuff to listen to some of it. It’s nothing that’s ever going to pay, but iTunes could actually be a means of making a bit of extra cash from the music. In fact, that’s for everyone. Before iTunes came along the alternative was to download it for free.

As for iTunes acting like a label? That’s what labels are for. Most labels these days want artists who already have some kind of an internet presence. They want you to have a Facebook page and a ReverbNation page and they want you to have some fans and followers. That’ how it works these days. Long story short, you need to be at least partway there before anyone bothers with you.

This somewhat reminds us of the Jack White thing. Jack White always seemed to hate Rock Band and Guitar Hero (though his music appeared in the games). He said kids needed to pick up real instruments. My whole take on that is that most just view it as entertainment. It’s like telling someone who likes playing Call of Duty that they should really join the military. That said, I do believe that that musically-inclined gamers do gravitate towards games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. The others have no interest in being musicians anyway, it’s just entertainment to them. Sure, they love playing guitar or drums, but for most of us playing to a sold out crowd will never be a reality (anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken about the music industry these days). If Rock Band lets us pretend we’re playing a huge arena, so be it.

(Via Associated Press)



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