The Who’s Pete Townshend: ‘Apple is a digital vampire’

Guitarist says the technology giant is making new bands 'bleed'

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The Who guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend has labeled technology giant Apple as a “digital vampire”.

Townshend, who gave the first John Peel Lecture in Salford last night (October 31), said that he believed the internet was “destroying copyright as we know it” and was damaging the growth of new music, reports BBC News.

He said of Apple: “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 continued: “Apple should employ 20 talent scouts from the dying record business to give guidance to new acts and provide financial and marketing support to the best ones.”

Townshend also laid into people who had downloaded his band’s music without paying, saying that they “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.”

The guitarist also said every new artist faced a dilemma about how they distributed their music, saying he believed creative people would prefer to starve then no-one hear their output. He added: “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.”


Townshend is currently preparing for the release of his long-awaited memoir Who He? He has been writing the book for over 15 years and was cautioned by police in 2003 during its writing after accessing child pornography on the internet. When questioned by police about the material he cited researching for the book as his reason for doing so.

The Who guitarist has also described the book, which will be published by Harper Collins, as a “rite of passage”. It is expected to be published in the autumn of 2012.

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