Friday, March 13, 2009

Featured Artists' Coalition - Artists vs. the labels

One of the ways in which the music labels justify their actions is to say that they are working on behalf of the artists.

Some artists don't see it that way, according to the Inquisitr.

140 of Britain’s biggest rock and pop stars have joined to form the Featured Artists Coalition, a group that aims to speak collectively on behalf of musicians, instead of the music industry....

[Their] first decision: voting against the prosecution of ordinary members of the public for illegally downloaded music.

The Inquisitr links to an article in the Independent that quotes Billy Bragg:

"What I said at the meeting was that the record industry in Britain is still going down the road of criminalising our audience for downloading illegal MP3s," he said.

"If we follow the music industry down that road, we will be doing nothing more than being part of a protectionist effort. It's like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

"Artists should own their own rights and they should decide when their music should be used for free, or when they should have payment."

But that wasn't the only concern of the artists, according to the Independent:

The Featured Artists Coalition, which consists of 140 of Britain's biggest rock and pop stars, said at its inaugural meeting that companies such as MySpace and YouTube should be required to remunerate the artists when they use their music for advertising.

Actually, I'm of a divided mind on this one - think of all of the benefits that artists have received when their music is featured in Apple commercials.

The Featured Artists Coalition has a website, at the URL, and includes (currently) this list of supporters:

Billy Bragg
Boilerhouse Boys
Chrissie Hynde
Craig David
David Gilmour
Gang of Four
Iron Maiden
Jazzie B
Jools Holland
Kaiser Chiefs
Kate Nash
Richard Ashcroft
Robbie Williams
Sia Furler
Soul II Soul
Stephen Duffy
The Cribs
The Verve
Wet Wet Wet
White Lies

And they have a charter:

A charter for fair play in the digital age

We believe that all music artists should control their destiny because ultimately it is their art and endeavours that create the pleasure and emotion enjoyed by so many.

This means that:
• artists should retain ultimate ownership of their music
• all agreements should be fairly conducted and transparently accounted
• rights’ holders should have a fiduciary duty of care to the originator of those rights and must always explain how any agreement may affect how their work is exploited.

This will be achieved by:
• changing artists’ approach to agreements
• changing the recorded music and technology companies’ treatment of artist rights and incomes
• up-dating laws to reflect the new music landscape.

So we will campaign for laws, regulations, business practices and policies that protect artists’ rights.

We will stand up for all artists by engaging with government, music and technology companies, and collection societies. We will argue for fair play and will expose unfair practices.

How will this mesh against the 360 agreements that labels are negotiating? We will see.

[12:33 - MORE HERE.]
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