The Who guitarist Pete Townshend has launched a bitter attack on Apple, claiming that the iTunes Music Store is a 'digital vampire.'

The ageing mod-rocker likened Apple's download platform to the failed Northern Rock building society and says the store is 'bleeding dry' and failing to support up-and-coming musicians.

Speaking at a radio industry lecture on Monday evening, Townshend hit out at iTunes for only benefittng artists whose music it already sells.

Wild west internet land

He says the company should take on the same role as record labels and employ A&R people to help find and support new talent.

He said: "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 Northern Rock for its enormous commission?"

The Guardian reports that this isn't the first time the bearded My Generation star has criticised Apple.

He once said in an interview that he wanted to "cut Steve Jobs's balls off."

'Come and steal my son's bike too'

Townshend also hit out at illegal downloaders and said the theft of music online was a reflection of society's moral disintegration.

"If someone pretends that something I have created should be available to them free," he added. "I wonder what has gone wrong with human morality and social justice.

"I once suggested that people who download my music without paying for it may as well come and steal my son's bike while they're at it."

Via: Guardian