Taking Names

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Pete Townshend calls iTunes a ‘digital vampire’

The Who’s Pete Townshend on Monday branded Apple Inc.’s iTunes a “digital vampire” that profits from music without supporting the artists who create it, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Townshend said that faced with the Internet’s demolition of established copyright protections, iTunes should offer some of the services to artists that record labels and music publishers used to provide. Those include employing talent scouts, giving space to enable bands to stream their music and paying smaller artists directly rather than through a third-party aggregator.

The guitarist was delivering the first John Peel Lecture, named in honor of the influential British radio broadcaster, who died in 2004.

Mr. Townshend asked if there was any reason iTunes “can’t provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire” to make money.

ITunes declined to respond to Mr. Townshend’s comments.

Mr. Townshend said consumers, as well as the industry, needed to change their attitude to digital music.

“It would be better if music lovers treated music like food and paid for every helping rather than only when it suited them,” he said. “Why can’t music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?”

Rihanna’s exhaustion forces cancellation of Sweden show

Organizers say Rihanna was forced to cancel a show in the Swedish city Malmo at the last minute after falling ill.

According to the Associated Press, Live Nation spokesman Kristofer Akesson said Rihanna didn’t feel well Monday and tour organizers contacted a doctor, who concluded the singer was suffering from severe exhaustion and “was not capable of carrying out the concert.”

The singer apologized to fans on Twitter and posted a picture of her arm attached to an intravenous drip.

Mr. Akesson said Rihanna is in Stockholm now and he expected her to perform there as scheduled Tuesday evening.

Jackman’s one-man show breaks box-office record

Hugh Jackman is doing what he does best — selling tickets.

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