If you stop and think about it, music is a ubiquitous part of our lives. How often can you recall a day when you didn’t hear music of one kind or another, whether it’s listening to your mp3 player on the way to work or hearing a snippet of a song as you’re driving. Music matters, and that’s the guiding force (and the name) of a new UK awareness campaign launched to stem the tide of music piracy that has been threatening to crush the music industry.
Music Matters, which is backed by Tesco, HMV, Amazon, and Spotify, features a website, WhyMusicMatters.org, that seeks to educate people about music piracy. It also has advice on how people can buy music legally. The hope is to change, even if slowly, the perception of music piracy. Right now, it is considered by most to be right on par with ripping a tag off a mattress. A non-law, or a law in name only. But piracy does have devastating consequences, especially if you’re one of the thousands who lost your job in the industry (not that pirates are solely to blame, but that’s another post altogether), and it does have repercussions as some find out the hard way.
Niamh Byrne of Universal Music is spearheading the Music Matters Campaign, and she likens the effort to the changes affected by anti-drunk driving initiatives. “It’s not going to happen overnight but I think the whole point is basically creating awareness and to chip, chip away. The key thing is that this is a starting point.” And like drunk driving and drug awareness, you need to start young. CMO Management’s Chris Morrison says, “You can educate that out of people…It may take five, 10 years, but you need to start in schools.”
Morrison also points out that taking music illegally is “not a God-give right,” which seems to be the prevailing attitude, especially given the ease with which one can do it. He told the BBC, “My job is to make sure my artist gets properly compensated. An artist makes pennies per record. If the music is popular, you sell huge quantities. But in order to make money, you have to sell huge quantities.” He adds, “Music must have a perceived value if it’s to have a future.”
The Music Matters campaign comes on the heels of the passage of the controversial Digital Economy Bill, which would cause repeat offenders to lose their internet access.
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