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Will.i.am Cautions Artists About iTunes: 'It Should Be the Scariest Thing in the World'

Will.I.Am
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In a room of full of entertainment lawyers and Grammy execs on Friday, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am offered frank insight and advice on how the music business can better manage its tumultuous relationship with technology.

"Believe me, I love Apple...but iTunes shouldn't be the answer," said Will.IAm in his keynote address at the Grammy Foundation's 13th annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "[For artists], it should be the scariest thing in the world."

Will.I.am described the plight of the modern musician as "like selling echoes" and pushed the need for young singers and songwriters to become experts in computers science so they may better benefit from a fast-paced marketplace.

Per his recent appointment as Intel's director of creative innovation, Will.I.Am spoke of the need to amp up efforts for tech education.

"We need to inspire kids to take notice of how and why a computer works," he said. "It's the marriage of art and science."

Will.I.Am, who was raised by a single mother in the projects of East L.A., has also been an active philanthropist since his early years in the Black Eyes Peas, a group he co-founded as a teenager with fellow band member Apl.de.Ap when the two were still in high school.

Among many endeavors, his six-year-old Peapod Foundation provides toys and supplies to local orphanages, including a new facility in Watts. He says the work should be an imperative for all musicians who reach his level of success.

"I do it because I want to do it," he said of charity work. "But if you don't use your own money, you don't really have a good reason to be doing it at all."