Pete Townshend: iTunes Is 'Like a Digital Vampire'

The Who's Pete Townshend: The Super Bowl Q&A

In remarks that came just in time for Halloween, the Who's Pete Townshend said iTunes "bleeds [artists' works] like a digital vampire" at the inaugural BBC 6 Music John Peel Lecture.

The rocker argued that Apple, whose iTunes store dominates digital download sales, should hire 20 talent scouts "from the dying record business" and provide artists with more than just a storefront.

"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?" Townshend said, according to the BBC.

Townshend also took aim at digital piracy, stating the Internet is "destroying digital copyright as we know it" and that illegal downloaders "may as well come and steal my son's bike while they're at it."

However, he noted that piracy could be an alternative to making music in obscurity.

"A creative person would prefer their music to be stolen and enjoyed than ignored," he said. "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."

The talk, intended to become an annual event, honored the late BBC DJ John Peel, a tireless promoter of new music.

"Sometimes he played some records that no one else would ever have played, and that would never be played on radio again," Townshend said.