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.
Townshend said 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.