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back to article Pete Townshend condemns Apple as 'digital vampire'

Pete Townshend, noted windmill guitarist and child pornography investigator, has called Apple's iTunes a "digital vampire", likened it to big-bucks bailout beneficiary Northern Rock, and admitted that yes, he did once want to cut Steve Jobs' balls off. Townsend managed that invective triptych while delivering the inaugural John …

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Silver badge

Gawd/ess ...

Somewhere, John's spinning. He was all about sharing music, anywhere & everywhere humanly possible. Pete's commentary suggests "mine is mine, but everyone else's is fair game" ... Hopefully ThePig will smack Townshend upside the lug 'ole next time she sees him ...

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Somehow I think

that Mr Peel quite liked the artists being paid for the work that they did.

Not every artist has an abundance of money, there are many so called successful artists who have had their income reduced from very little to 20% of very little.

Check out Roger McGuinn or Andy Partridge amongst others on the matter

I'm happy to see the majority of the record execs lose money, but I do like to see the artists paid.

It may not be why they start of producing music (for example) but recording artists and their families deserve to be rewarded with more than a pat on the back.

Plus if you have ever paid for recording studio time et al then you would know why they need an income (and no a laptop, some line 6 kit & a £200 microphone doesn't really cut it)

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Real artists could make money on a Washboard and a Paint Pot.

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FAIL

durr

yes, but the end result would not be Dark Side Of The Moon or Blue, etc.

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Good music is good music however it was recorded

"Plus if you have ever paid for recording studio time et al then you would know why they need an income (and no a laptop[1], some line 6 kit & a £200 microphone doesn't really cut it)"

Well there's your problen should have used a Tascam or Fostex instead of Line 6 kit to create another Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska' ...... or maybe it's the quality of the the music that counts instead of the kit it's recorded on.

[1] Get a PC with a decent A2D, USB is too slow.

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Anonymous Coward

Sure

Give us an example of a "real artist" who achieves/achieved that then

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@Rob Crawford

John shared music. Pete plays music. John enjoyed sharing music. Pete apparently wants to be paid for music ... but unlike John, Pete seems to think he's entitled.

"Plus if you have ever paid for recording studio time et al then you would know why they need an income (and no a laptop, some line 6 kit & a £200 microphone doesn't really cut it)"

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1195392

::shrugs::

Please note that I'm not anti The WHO ... They were talking about my generation, and I saw 'em live in the late '70s & early '80s a couple dozen times, on both sides of the pond.

Times change. The reality of copying images changes. Shall we move on?

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Linux

The mind boggles...

You've really got to wonder where radio and MTV fits into Pete's view of things here.

There are plenty of bands who's works I've enjoyed for free and quite legally too.

This includes The Who oddly enough.

...talking 'bout my generation and whatnot.

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YP
FAIL

Radio and MTV pay to play the music they do, and that goes to the artists,

Should you actually listen to (don't he's a bad public speaker), or read the transcript, he even covers that.

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Anonymous Coward

@ YP

Yes they do pay to play, but if more than 0.001% actually ends up with the artists (unless they are a big name), I will be very, very supervised.

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Black Helicopters

The way it works for small artists

You join ASCAP or BMI. The radio stations may or may not ever play your songs -- but the way the ratings are calculated, if they did, you'll never know.

At the end of the year, you'll get a letter to the effect of: "We worked very hard for you to ensure that you got your fair share. Your share of performance royalties is $30. Your membership dues are $100. You now owe us $70. Please remit."

[sarc]However, they *do* have to pay for some very nice offices, so I suppose the gouging is entirely necessary. [/sarc]

In the meantime, if some restaurant will be nice to you and play your music in hopes of selling your CD's, ASCAP or BMI lawyers will extort $700/month in royalties out of them. Of which you'll see the aforementioned -$70, even though EVERY SINGLE SONG PLAYED is yours.

I agree with Mr. Townshend. Some balls need to be cut off -- however, he and I differ on the choice between a dead man and some overpriced lawyers who've stumbled on a scheme to make extortion legal. Until then, Non-ASCAP/BMI and damned proud of it. If they try to hassle my friends, we prosecute for theft.

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One Problem...

"iTunes, he said, should support artists by giving them free computers, and help guide them through the rocky shoals of marketing, copyright, and distribution."

The problem with this is that most 'artists' are not artists and produce terrible content. A free computer will not make them better.

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Anonymous Coward

A question for Pete:

Where's the book?

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then again

if you hadn't stuffed so much fairy dust up you hooter you might have even more money than you do now.

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Where do you live Pete? I'd like your son's bike a whole lot more than your music.

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Pint

Would you?

I wouldn't download a bike. Or shit in a policeman's helmet.

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Pirate

+1 for IT Crowd

After going to the Louvre with my camera, I saved millions of dollars not "buying" all those priceless paintings, I can look at them whenever I like.

Boo-hoo artists, to me it's simple; If you want to get paid, perform a show. I get up every day and go to work, to make money, and so can you. Don't like people downloading your music, don't record it in a loseless audio format and try to charge people $10-$20 dollars for it, only perform it live.

I'm really sorry that your racket is almost over, you had a good run, now work everyday like the rest of us. People that are really "artists" will make music whether or not anyone ever hears it, and if they want to "share" it with people they will, and if they want to get paid for entertaining, then perform it live, or sell it for nickels. Would you rather make ten million nickels, or a thousand dollars?

Only a few artists ever "get rich" from recorded music, but almost all the record executives do.

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Unhappy

Rampant self publicist talks bollocks

Nobody care about Pete Townshend any more. I doubt that most of da yoof even know who he is. He's been an irrelevance since the sixties. So, had he not invoked the spectre of Apple, this speech would have been ignored. Let's not give him the oxygen he's seeking. He's just trolling.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah...

Because you often see irrelevant acts headlining Glastonbury Pyramid stage on the last night of the festival.

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Devil

"He's been an irrelevance since the sixties." That is utter crap! "Who's Next", one of the great rock albums of all times, came out in 1971.

So there. Nyeh.

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Not just Whos' Next ...

Quadraphenia is an outstanding slice through adolesence and has as much relevance (if not more) today - 40 years after it was conceived.

Townshend can be a total twat - he freely admits it - but he also isn't afraid to use his brain.

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""It would be better if music lovers treated music like food," he added, "and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them."

Yes, I'm sure that'd be nice for you. However, unlike food, with data copies can be made, with zero effort and isn't a consumable product. Want to try again?

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Anonymous Coward

Riiiight....

"It would be better if music lovers treated music like food," he added, "and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them."

You want people to pay every time they listen to your songs? You can fuck off mate, you were good, but not that damn good.

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Anonymous Coward

And if you bought the complete "Live at Leeds" CD...

..you'd know why so little of it appeared on vinyl first time around.

Seminal according to wikipedia, as ever they are nearly right

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Free computers?

WTF? How will that help?

Why not just give them the advise in the first place on "guiding them through the rocky shoals of marketing, copyright, and distribution"?

Afterall, a PC is what - £300? And it's very likely they already have one?

I'd stay off the charlie and try and keep up, Pete...mate.

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Do you have any idea

Where his son keeps his bike?

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Happy

I can see it now...

Somewhere, in Apple PR department:

Drone 1: "Pete Townsend? Do we give a shit?"

Drone 2: <looks up itunes sales for PT, and Bio info on Wikipedia> "No. Plus he slagged off the holy one"

Drone 1: "Fair enough, f* him then - carry on as normal"

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Stop stropping

If he does not like iTunes then he can always remove his material from the catalogue. Will that improve his income ?

If he does not like the 30% iTunes take he can try to negotiate a better deal and when they won't budge stop selling through iTunes.

I assume that Mr Townshend also approves of Paul McCartney's efforts to help starving old rock stars by increasing the copyright term to 70 years -- thus hindering new artists from reusing some of the old material into something new and exciting -- better to allow those who already have than allow the new who have not a chance.

If he is lacking in income maybe he ought to publish something new, that people will want to buy, rather than relying on regurgitating ancient stuff -- I would like to receive royalties for code that I wrote in my youth!

I am no apple lover, but stopping like this is not the way.

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iTunes takes a lot less than 30% for music. IIRC it's substantially under 10%. The record companies take the lion's share (as per usual).

Really Pete, it's the record companies that are the vampires. They do very little of value in this day and age. You should be thanking iTunes for being a relatively level playing field. And, although you can't directly self-publish to iTunes, there are a multitude of aggregators out there who will publish your song for a few $ per year.

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FAIL

takes a lot less than 30% for music???

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Apple-iTunes-Royalties-music,news-2665.html

"Currently iTunes charges 99-cents a song, with 61-cents of that going to the record industry, 9-cents of it going to the artists and the rest going to Apple."

$0.29 / $.99 = 29.29% is what iTunes take or basically 30% of the take per song.

Will it be different for Apples cloud offering and be as you say "a lot less than 30%"? Well lets take a look shall we?

http://theunlockr.com/2011/06/05/apples-100m-payout-to-music-giants-for-icloud-launch/

"Apple has agreed to pay each music label between $25 million to $50 million for their services. The music labels will then share the cost with Apple; 30% will go to Apple, 12% will go to the music publishers, and the remaining will be left to the labels to pay out their artists"

Feel free to bring some factual data along with your posts...

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Linux

iTunes is just another vendor

iTunes is just another vendor. They sell singles or albums and they sell them under the terms offered by the publisher. If the artists aren't seeing any windfall, then it is the middle men that are at fault at not iTunes. Apple is simply chasing the market.

iTunes is no more or less vampiric than Virgin Megastore.

The labels are the actual villain in this piece and always have been. If Apple has gained any power here, than the labels have given it to them.

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may I suggest

Reading the entire transcript rather than critiquing soundbites pulled out of context. http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1047245&c=1

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Coat

but but

that would require reading.

I prefer random quotes so I can "get paid for work done as a clock"

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Anonymous Coward

> rather than critiquing soundbites pulled out of context.

I read the transcript. In context he comes off as an even bigger twat.

Townshend's implication that John Peel was some arbiter of musical talent acting as gate keeper to make sure that the public only listened to high quality saleable material probably has the big man at 20,000 rpm in his coffin.....

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45 rpm shurely?

Coat.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah Right Pete

What about all that free publicity and revenue you've had over the years on the Beeb courtesy of the licence fee payer ?

The only vampires I see are the music biz execs trying to bleed my wallet dry for their next Ferrari, dolly bird and 1km long lines of coke.

"I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth" (From Substitute by The Who)

Not a Silver one !

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Happy

Well is he a man of conviction, isn't he?

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Headmaster

Betting term

"trifecta"? Do you mean "triptych" perchance?

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong target

Quote: Pete Townshend [] has called Apple's iTunes a "digital vampire"

If Apple is leeching off the artists, it isn't terribly effective. Apple's accounts indicate the sale of music is only showing a very minor profit, and most of the revenue is simply paying the labels and covering the overheads of running the store. It seems to me that the real profits are going into someone else's pocket, i.e. Pete hasn't tracked down the real vampire.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple take 30%, pass on the rest

Apple take 30% of the sales. The 70% remainder gets passed up the chain. The "paying the labels" etc would come from the 70% surely?

Whilst Apple may claim that the 30% take only just covers the running of the store, you have to realise that the existence of the store, with the music on it, helps sell the iPhone/iPod etc - which is where a greater profit lies. Also, it's not difficult to do perfectly legal creative accounting which allows you to 'hide' profit by assigning costs creatively (e.g. the iTunes store costs may also include their entire data centre costs, partly used for iTunes, but also associated with the back-end iPhone activation and monitoring - maybe even some other iPhone services - MobileMe/iCloud? - something they'd have had to pay for without the iTunes store selling music).

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Anonymous Coward

Four kinds of lies

Lies

Damned Lies

Statistics

Accountancy

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmmm

"you have to realise that the existence of the store, with the music on it, helps sell the iPhone/iPod etc - which is where a greater profit lies"

Yes, but that profit does not belong to the musician, it belongs to Apple.

However, even if Apple were "creaming" all of the 30% as pure profit, doesn't that mean Mr Townsend et al are getting 70% of something that wasn't being paid for at all before, in return for doing no extra work at all?

I wish someone would take the work I did 30 years ago, sell it to a load of people and throw 70% of the profit my way....

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Childcatcher

But iTunes is just a big record shop.

Whilst it would be nice it's not strictly their job to nurture talent. Thats what record companies are supposed to do. Well at least they used to. They're the ones who would traditionally send out the ANR men. I guess that roll has now been taken over by Simon Cowell.

And whilst on the subject of record shops, both iTunes and Amazon have a vast selections of obscure music which was never available from your local high street store. At least musicians now have a global outlet where they can sell their work. On iTunes you can even get Thy Gospel by Stian Westerhus for christ sakes.

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Headmaster

Apologies in advance for the pedancy...

It s " A *and* R, as in Artists *and* Repertoire written as 'A&R'. Other that that, I completely and utterly concur with what you have said!

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Anonymous Coward

Am I missing something here? I thought iTunes was more like HMV than EMI or Bluurg, so I don't understand why Apple should be bringing on talent.

As for freeloaders, I am sort of with him on that one. If people do not buy the music then the band cannot fund a tour. And I assume a record label isn't going to fund a tour if the record sells are poor.

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WTF?

Cannot fund a tour???

You *must* be joking - ticket prices for PT types are in the £50 - £250 league - tours are where these people *make* money, not spend it. Not only are tours self-funding, they make the bands about $5mil a head. well, if you're a Townshend or a Jagger or a Van Morrison that is. Everyone else gets scale I bet.

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