In an abrupt change of course, the Who will stop Webcasting its live shows once the group's European tour wraps Saturday in Zaragosa, Spain.
According to guitarist Pete Townshend, vocalist Roger Daltrey "seems to be unconvinced that the Web has any real contribution to make to our career."
Proceeds from the $10 summer Webcasts, which Townshend was funding on his own, had been earmarked for charity. Townshend has also been featuring live solo and Who performances on the online show In the Attic, run by his girlfriend, singer/songwriter Rachel Fuller.
"Webcasting the Who, whether live or pay for view, and donating profits (nor proceeds) to various causes, was entirely my idea," he wrote on his Web site (http://www.petetownshend.co.uk).
"I was unable to share my plan properly with Roger prior to the tour because we were having such trouble meeting our recording deadlines. My feeling, still, is that Webcasting allows us new ways to get our new music across that our traditional live show does not. I have yet to convince Roger of this. Sadly, I announced my grand plans, and put them in action, before Roger really had a chance to digest what I was doing."
"Roger is my partner in the Who," he continued. "He is not my partner in anything else. We love each other but we are not regular social buddies like Bono and Edge, we do not discuss or share ideas, and we have no unified joint vision or strategy for the Who or for creative projects in general."
As such, Townshend said ongoing Webcasts "while on tour (are) too much to carry on my own. I had hoped that Roger would fall more actively behind me, and we could secure a solid sponsorship deal that would make everything flow smoothly, and repay some of my initial investment. Roger has been recorded in the media several times saying that I benefit from publishing income while the Who are not touring, and that allows me greater personal, creative and financial freedom. This is true. But with no promise of any investment from inside or outside the Who I need to stand back now and review my commitment."
Townshend even set up a Hotmail address for angry fans to write Daltrey regarding the Webcasts, but quickly wrote that the mailbox was full. "Of the 250 MB of emails, only two were negative," he said.
The Who will begin a North American tour Sept. 12 in Philadelphia. Work continues on the band's first new album since 1982, which is tentatively due in late October.