A hot potato: While the internet is high on the list of inventions that have completely reshaped the world, not everyone is a fan of the digital experience. One of them is Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the legendary rock band The Who. He not only hopes it “f**king collapses”, but also believes it destroys our brains and has the potential to end civilization.
The singer made his internet-thinning comments about the Coda Collection, which, somewhat ironically, is a video streaming service available on Amazon that features music concerts, documentaries and more from artists like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, the latter of which Daltrey during a another part of the interview called a “Medium Pub Band”.
Daltrey covered a number of areas during his one-on-one, including how he thought The Who would do if it were a new band launching into today’s digital age. The visibly unimpressed singer begins his response by announcing himself as “the internet’s number one hater”.
“I’m disgusted by it. The moment it really started to emerge the way this platform has become, I never thought anything good would come out of it and I really still don’t think anything good will come of it. I think that if we’re not careful, it’s probably the end of our civilization,” he explained.
“Yes, it’s very useful. It destroys our planet in more ways than one. It destroys our brains in more ways than one. It destroys our society in more ways than one, so all in all, the sooner it fucking collapses, the the better.”
Like most things, the internet has its problems. In 2019, the man who invented the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, called for a “Contract for the Web” that he hoped would prevent a “digital dystopia.” It included greater respect for user privacy and developing technologies to support humanity.
But Daltrey does have a point about the Internet’s environmental impact, especially when it comes to resource-consuming resources such as cryptography, NFTs and data centers. He also raises the long-controversial issue of how much songwriters and artists are paid by streaming services for the use of their work. It is estimated that Spotify pays artists just $0.0033 per stream, meaning they need about 250 streams to earn a single dollar.
“Songwriters can’t make a living writing songs. Composers can’t make a living composing music. That can’t go on. That has to stop. It’s the greatest fraud or heist, whatever you want to call it, in the history – what happened to the music business,” Daltrey said.