The rock veteran has it in for the likes of Britney and *N Sync - and record companies too...

Elton John has slammed Britney Spears, S Club 7 and N Sync as well as a host of other stars of contemporary pop acts, comparing many of them to ‘packets of cereal’.

The veteran entertainer struck out at record companies controlling the artists, saying the majority were only interested in short-term financial gains and prevented real talent getting airplay.

Speaking on BBC2’s ‘Newsnight’ show last night (January 21), Elton John said: “Record companies want the quick buck from Backstreet Boys, N Sync,

Britney Spears, Steps – they’ve always been around, I’m not knocking the music perhaps, but it’s like packets of cereal.”

He said that there was still talent in UK music, singling out Craig David, David Gray, Coldplay, Stereophonics and Radiohead as “quality artists”.

“I don’t want to see untalented artists selling millions of records when there are talented people who aren’t,” he added.

Insisting there was very little long term thinking within the music industry, with the emphasis on instant success, he said money that is being poured into video promos should be rediverted and put into bands to allow them tour and hone their craft.

“Take the money that’s being put into the videos – which all comes out of royalties at the end of the day – put it into equipment and put them out on the road, playing second on the bill,” he said. “That’s how I started, that’s how U2 started, The Police started – it’s a great experience.”

His views have not been universally well received. Pete Waterman, who originally put together and managed Steps as well as numerous “cereal” type acts in the80s, said in a statement to the BBC: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion – even if it isn’t the same as mine.”