Drive to change attitudes to music piracy

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A campaign aiming to change attitudes to music piracy in the same way that anti-drink driving initiatives have altered people's mindsets was launched today.

The Music Matters drive is backed by artists, retailers and managers.



An educational website has been set up featuring films as well as advice on how to identify legitimate ways to buy music.



A series of short animated films have gone online telling the stories behind inspirational artists such as Kate Bush, Nick Cave, The Jam and the Fron Choir.



Music sites such as Spotify, Amazon, HMV and Tesco have signed up to adopt a trust mark as part of the campaign.



The initiative is being pioneered by Niamh Byrne of Universal Music, who previously worked for CMO Management which looks after Damon Albarn's bands Blur and Gorillaz.



Comparisons were made at the launch in London to anti-drink driving campaigns which have gradually changed attitudes.



Ms Byrne said of such parallels: "Absolutely, I spoke to quite a few people when we were doing this campaign and it's not going to happen overnight but I think the whole point is basically creating awareness and to chip, chip away."



She added: "I think the key thing is that this is a starting point."



Chris Morrison of CMO Management agreed that the problem is generational.



But he continued: "You can educate that out of people... Racial prejudice was rife when I was a child... the public attitude towards it has changed radically.



"You educate, it's generational... It may take five, 10 years, but you need to start in schools."



He referred to Radiohead's decision in 2007 to let fans decide how much to pay for downloading their album In Rainbows from their website.



Mr Morrison said: "If I were (Radiohead singer) Thom Yorke and somebody came on that site and wasn't prepared to pay a penny when I'd just spent a year possibly in the studio producing and creating, I'd ask: 'Why do you want to have it? You place no value upon it, so why is it you would like to have my music?"'



He added: "This is not how we slice the cake, this is: is there a cake?



"Because that's where it's going to... Music must have a perceived value if it's to have a future."



Later, stressing he was joking, he said of whoever had leaked the Gorillaz song Stylo as "a bit of a jape" that he would like to give them a "good kicking" if they could not provide a satisfactory explanation as to why.



The issue of piracy has erupted in recent years, with the Government attempting to tackle the problem in its Digital Economy Bill.



Persistent copyright infringers would risk being temporarily cut off from the internet, under proposals which have drawn widespread controversy.



Former Suede guitarist turned producer Bernard Butler was among audience members at the launch.



The Kinks frontman Ray Davies said in a statement: "Ray and Dave Davies were brothers and used to fight a lot as children.



"They argued about everything, then one day they got guitars and formed The Kinks.



"They still argued a lot but communicated with songs. That's why music matters."



HMV's Gennaro Castaldo said the campaign was "engaging with the fans for the first time.



"Up to now they've probably been communicated to or dictated to, they've read about it but they've never actually been engaged with dialogue in this way before."



The Music Matters campaign website is at http://www.whymusicmatters.org.

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