Music: Sleeve Notes

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IN A rare show of Euro-harmony, a number of UK musicians are uniting with other European acts in a high-profile move to fight music piracy on the Net. Many have welcomed the Net as a cheap alternative to traditional retailing - but not everyone. Not Robbie Williams, The Corrs and Boyzone, at any rate. After all, music piracy is estimated to cost the industry more than pounds 3m a year, world-wide.

HOWEVER, WITH an announcement this week by the Virgin group to the effect that it's opening an online record shop, the situation of privacy and copyright on the Net is fast approaching critical mass. With 9 per cent of the US music industry expected to be online by 2002, according to Jupiter Communications, the five largest record labels have taken steps to formulate a working practice for Net sales, joining technology leaders such as AT&T Corp and American On-line to developmeans of delivering music over the Internet.

THE NOUVEAU Ska band No Doubt are staying true to their moniker by enlisting Glen Ballard - the wizard whispered to be the driving force behind Alanis Morissette's transformation from teen puppet to hit-making neuro-diva - to helm their next album. Meanwhile, Depeche Mode (right) are turning down the chance to become the next Bond theme artists. They are too busy. Mind you, Bond themes never did much for A-Ha!