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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Napster gives artists 'control'
Dave Stewart with Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics
Dave Stewart with Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics
By BBC News Online internet reporter Mark Ward

Pop star Dave Stewart has given the thumbs-up to online music site Napster, saying it starts to put artists back in control of what happens to their music.

Anything anarchistic like Napster is good - it makes artists ask why they are not in control of what they are doing

Dave Stewart
The Eurythmics star was speaking at the UK internet Summit in London on the future of creativity and what we will see on the net.

He said he hoped Napster-type services would signal the end of pop music controlled by corporates rather than artists.

He said he was working with Microsoft co-founder and music fan Paul Allen on ways to help artists manage their creations on the internet, and on ways of creating channels dedicated to particular bands or styles of music.

But he had little to say about how music, or any other form of digital creation, should be protected from piracy.

Summit speaker

At the summit, Stewart took a look at the future of what might happen to digital content, such as music and films, on the net over the next few years.

Paul Allen AP
Microsoft co-founder and music fan Paul Allen is collaborating with Stewart
He said many artists were annoyed by the way their record companies had treated them.

Many had been mystified by why it took so long to get paid for what they had done, he said.

Now, some artists are looking to the internet to help them reach fans better and have much more control over what they do and what happens to what they create.

He welcomed the growth of music download site Napster and the many copycat services that have sprung up because they were helping to dismantle the system that allow music created and marketed by companies to flourish, producing groups that look and sound alike.

"Anything anarchistic like Napster is good - it makes artists ask why they are not in control of what they are doing," he said.

The existing company-dominated music scene was stifling creativity, he said.

A more open system would let the real stars shine: "Artists of any worth or strength will rise up and take control of the situation."

Enormous output

While most bands produced only an album every few years, they had a wealth of material that never saw the light of day, he said.

Stewart said he was working with Paul Allen on ways to help musicians and film-makers set up systems that gave fans more access and let the artists control what happened to the material they produced.

Allen lists the Eurythmics' Greatest Hits album as one of his all-time favourites on his website.

But despite his hope that the internet will give artists more control over what happens to their creations, Stewart had no ideas about ways to protect music or movies put on the net or on digital TV.

He said he was leaving it to the technical people to sort out how it should be protected and how to ensure that artists got paid for what they produced.

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