by: Nancy Baym
Pete Townshend has given up on his plan to webcast Who concerts following what the press has interpreted as a fairly nasty public spat with Roger Daltrey over whether and how to fund online broadcasts of their concerts. It’s a good example of the confusion that ensues when people just aren’t sure how to mesh the unprecedented ability of the internet to bring music to fans with the business models they’re used to.
Like Kevin Smith, Townshend takes advantage of the internet to create a kind of openness and direct connection with fans that just was not available before, using his own website to articulate the issues at stake. As he describes himself and his online fans:
I am an internet nut. In Madrid last night I met at least a dozen shining Spanish fans who up until now I have known only through exchanges on the web on Blogs or through my appearances on In The Attic. There are two way of looking at these people - either they are real fans, who buy tickets and support me unconditionally as an artist, or - as decried by Janet Street Porter recently - they are Blogging ‘Saddos’. Either way, we have fun, we connect, we are alive. At a concert where the Who play to what looked like 20,000 roaring people I also have a more intimate sense of connection with some of the audience. I suppose the only thing that’s ’sad’ about that to the press is that it doesn’t make them any money.
When he asked for emails so he could assess fan opinions on the matter in a bid to persuade Roger, the hotmail mailbox filled within a day. And then he expressed surprise that the press paid attention:
Its Lebanon and Israel who are “at war” - not Roger and Pete.
In related news, he’s:
taking down www.thewho.com as well after tomorrow, but again this is not out of spite or anger. This was always something that was planned to be a part of the webcast package, and on this Roger is in agreement to help support a new and greatly revised website, reflecting more of his ideas, as soon as we can find a good webmaster. This new website will definitely go up prior to our first U.S. dates in September.
When even the Who can’t find a good enough webmaster to keep their site up and running and compelling for fans, that’s a sad statement on the state of official band sites.