Julian Casablancas has suggested Ed Sheeran's overwhelming success is a result of "cultural brainwashing".
The Strokes front man - whose current band The Voidz will release their second album 'Virtue' on March 30 - took aim at the 'Perfect' hitmaker and pointed out that lots of talented, less mainstream artists may not get the attention they deserve.
Speaking to Vulture, Julian hit back as the publication's reporter suggested a reason for Ed being more popular than lo-fi musician Ariel Pink was down to the former "trying to be pop".
The 'Last Nite' singer argued: "Everything you're saying sounds 100 percent like cultural brainwashing. Because if you grew up in a world where Ariel Pink was popular then you would say 'I don't see how Ed Sheeran can be popular.'
"People grow up with norms knocked into their heads. And I'm not trying to diss Ed Sheeran or any pop star. Ed Sheeran seems like a nice, cool guy and I have nothing against his music. Let him sell a billion records.
"I'm just saying I don't understand why there can't be a world where Ed Sheeran gets 60 percent of the attention and Ariel Pink gets 40 percent. Now it's almost like Ed Sheeran gets 99.5 percent of it."
Julian compared Ariel Pink to the late David Bowie, suggesting he "will be one of the best-remembered artists of this generation" even if people don't realise it just yet.
He added: "My mission is the same as it's been from day one, which is to try to make something that has artistic value and bring it to the mainstream. Nothing about that has changed.
"I strive to build a world where the Velvet Underground would be more popular than the Rolling Stones. Or where Ariel Pink is as popular as Ed Sheeran."