Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Sorry Pete, You've Missed The Point

(from previous blog - 01 November 2011)

So Pete Townshend has been lambasting iTunes in his John Peel lecture. See full story here.

Pete, you are a God amongst Rock'n'Rollers and I have loved your work since I was a kid (although maybe some of the solo outings were a little dodgy).

But please don't slam into iTunes because it doesn't offer growbags for musicians. At the end of the day, it's just a shop. It is not a record label and it is certainly not a charity. It takes a cut of what it sells and passes the rest back to the owner of the music. That's what all shops do and I don't hear you accusing WHSmith of the same evils.

In fact, it is one of the very few digital download sites that DOES take some care over protecting the rights of the musician by attempting to prevent unlawful copying, which is very hard to do these days. We can argue over the merits of the actual percentages but I tell you what, it pays a damn site better than the likes of Spotify! Please direct your ire in that direction if you must, I do!

I'm no particular fan of Apple per se. Whilst like many I was very saddened by the recent demise of Steve Jobs who was a true visionary, I do take exception to many of their overzealous business practices and the closed-mindedness of some of their more extreme fans. But at the end of the day they are a business, and businesses exist to make money. If they provide a service that people want, they will make that money. And that is what has happened. You get an album for about the same price you would pay for a CD, and the upstream splits are comparable to what you would get from a high street retailer. One could argue that they should reduce their cut since they don't exactly have to manage stock or a complex supply chain, but there are very few artists left now who boycott iTunes for any commercial reason.

So please tone down your talk of "bleeding artists like a digital vampire", it's simply not the case. iTunes is the best example of digital music distribution out there today, is the nearest digital equivalent there is to our beloved traditional record shops and IMHO is an example that others would do well to follow. Like so many large companies today it attracts a lot of criticism purely because if its own success. But that success comes from people actually using it, so they can't be doing everything wrong.

So, Pete, let's hear some more of that great axe work you are so deservedly famous for, and I'll go back to enjoying "The Who - The Ultimate Collection" which I bought and downloaded recently from....well I'd rather not say at the moment until you've calmed down.

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