Report: Van Morrison Pulling Out of iTunes “Very Soon”

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Leave it to Van Morrison to pull back the curtain on the state of the music industry today: “We don’t know where the record business is going, and the record companies say, ‘We don’t know what’s happening, and it’s a really bad time.’ So if it’s really bad, why would you want to do business with a record company?”

Morrison, perhaps Rock’s greatest living iconoclast since the death of Frank Zappa, gave a wide ranging interview to TIME, in which the much-beloved, notoriously cranky Irish troubador downplayed the importance – to him and fans of his music – of download sites such as iTunes, admitted he’s neither inspired nor impressed by anything or anyone in music today, and said if he had one thing to do over he would never have become famous.

Follow after the jump for more on Van the Man’s thoughts on the music business and why he doesn’t need iTunes

Morrison suggested he does not plan to renew his contract with the iTunes store when it expires soon, a move MacNN suggests could be a black eye for Apple, but which actually serves to underscore a persistent split between those who pay fealty to art and those who do so to commerce.

“I’m not a download artist,” he told TIME, explaining “downloads are a very small percentage of my product. But it seems the record companies all want to be the agents for downloads. And I’m not going there, so that’s another reason I don’t need them.”

Much like Zappa before him, Morrison remains supremely confident in his art and its worth and would just as soon be in control of its distribution and marketing as to put his fate and fortunes in the hands of the recording industry.

As an example, he gave Brown Eyed Girl, a song he always considered a throwaway but one that has become one of his most famous, “not because I like it,” he says, but because Sony bought it and promoted it for their own interests. “I’ve got about 300 other songs that I think are better than that.”

The truth of the matter is iTunes will do just fine if Van Morrison decides not to renew his contract with Apple. And Van Morrison, good health and good fortune willing, will do just fine without the distribution support of a vehicle among whose artists he finds none exciting: “Absolutely none. Nothing. It’s all been done.”

Video of the interview here.

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