The industry is getting its second big pro-legal campaign in as many months, with the Musicians’ Union launching an initiative designed to give more control to musicians over how their music is bought and sold.
Music Supported Here, already backed by a host of artists and bands including Kasabian, Florence + The Machine and Robbie Williams, is a campaign and platform to help performers gain – or regain – control of their music and rights and stop them from being “ripped-off”.
The campaign, also supported by the MMF and the Featured Artists Coalition, comes complete with a logo, website, Facebook page and Twitter feed to help musicians publicise and debate the issue of illegal P2P versus legal services, raise their profiles and direct customers to their own online stores and websites.
For fans it is hoped Music Supported Here will become a high-profile badge that they will adopt to show that they do not rip off musicians.
MU assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge says there has been a lot of noise about music on the internet and how it is consumed, but the musician’s voice is often the last to be heard.
“With this we are giving the artist his voice because it is very rare to hear directly from musicians and there have been a lot of mixed messages,” says Trubridge, who argues that there are now many ways to consume music and make money from it.
“Some musicians are happy to give tracks away for free if it means selling tickets to gigs. The point is, it is up to the musicians to take control and decide how their music is sold if there is money to be made.”
MMF chief executive Jon Webster says his organisation is right behind the MU in its aim to “raise awareness of the creators’ right to be paid”. Webster adds, “In a world where creators find it difficult to control their rights, a campaign to educate the public about what has effectively become a moral issue is to be welcomed.”
It is envisaged that Music Supported Here will develop into a campaigning site with its own chat rooms, which will “bind” musicians into a community and help them understand all the current issues affecting them, such as copyright.
Trubridge also argues the campaign will help fans understand that illegal P2P sites are not libertarians but “commercial capitalists” feeding off the hard work and creativity of the musicians they like.
The MU also hopes that by downloading the Music Supported Here logo and attaching it to their own social networking site music lovers will be able to show that they do not rip off musicians.
“Right now there is no opportunity for fans to show they are not illegal downloaders,” says Trubridge, adding that it will also help drive fans to musicians’ own websites where they are likely to get a better cut of revenue.
The move comes just months after the industry backed another as-yet-unamed campaign to win the hearts and minds of music consumers in the battle against pirates.
Trubridge sees no conflict of interest between the two campaigns. However, he does point out that some people may feel more comfortable with the fact that Music Supported Here is a “pure message” from musicians rather than something that has sprung from the record labels.
“Music Supported Here is musicians talking to fans and it is coming from an organisation that has no financial gain,” he adds.