Waters slams music industry ‘rogues and thieves’

Roger Waters says the advent of digital streaming services has ruined the business model for developing new artists.

The former Pink Floyd bassist tells The Times (via Ultimate Classic Rock): “I feel enormously privileged to have been born in 1943 and not 1983. To have been around when there was a music business and the takeover by Silicon Valley hadn’t happened, and in consequence, you could still make a living writing and recording songs and playing them to people.

“When this gallery of rogues and thieves had not yet injected themselves between the people who aspire to be creative and their potential audience and steal every fucking cent anybody ever made and put it in their pockets to buy fucking huge mega-yachts and Gulfstream Fives with. These thieves. It’s just stealing. And that they’re allowed to get away with it is just incredible.”

He adds: ‘I’m angry, even though it doesn’t change my life in any way.”

Waters was recently named No. 10 on a Sunday Times list of richest musicians with an estimated fortune valued at £160million. A year ago, the bassist landed at No. 12 on a list of Billboard’s Top 25 grossing live acts of the past quarter century with a box office take of $547m.

Waters’ spreads his criticism of the emerging financial issues facing new artists around and says fans are responsible too.

He says: “I blame the punters as well to some extent, a whole generation that’s grown up who believe that music should be free. I mean why not make everything free? Then you could walk into a shop and say ‘I like that television’ and you walk out with it.

“No. Somebody made that and you have to buy it! ‘Oh, I’ll just pick up few apples.’ No. Some farmer grew those and brought them here to be sold.”

Waters comments echo similar statements by Kiss bassist Gene Simmons and former Pink Floyd bandmate Nick Mason – who said Apple deserves some of the blame for devaluing music over last year’s free giveaway of U2’s Songs Of Innocence album.