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Media Correspondent Torin Douglas
"The report calls for cheaper internet access"
 real 28k

Music lecturer Simon Warner
"Smaller companies could struggle"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 5 April, 2000, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Pirate web threat to music industry
George Michael: Musicians could lose out
Musicians and songwriters could lose millions of pounds unless the industry makes it easier to buy music legally over the internet, a UK Government report warns.

If the UK music industry is to continue to prosper it must give consumers what they need

Culture Secretary Chris Smith
The study suggests people will buy from pirate sites and foreign competitors if they cannot get quicker and easier online access to music.

Global online sales are expected to account for 8% of the total music market by 2004.

The report, Consumers Call The Tune, says users have to wait hours to download files.

It highlights the fact that teenagers are among the biggest devotees of both music and the internet, yet they are excluded from legitimately buying online as they have to be at least 18.

Adults are also wary of using credit cards online because of security risks.

The report, to be presented to music industry chiefs on Wednesday, recommends:

  • Introducing a secure online payment system usable by youngsters and adults, as well as a timetable for its introduction

  • Ensuring hardware - including home computers, digital TVs and potentially mobile phones - will be able to play music

  • Cheaper, faster access to the internet and online music by opening up competition among phone operators, digital and cable services.

Pop music lecturer Simon Warner told the BBC: "It seems certain that at some point the big software and record companies will have to find some way of presenting music on the internet which protects copyright and protects earnings for those companies so that their profits are upheld."

Culture Secretary Chris Smith said: "Consumers are driving the online revolution, and they want the ability to get the music they want, when they want it and where they want it.

"If the UK music industry is to continue to prosper it must give consumers what they need and a safe way of paying for it."

The report was compiled by a section of the government's music industry forum which includes Martin Mills of the Beggars Banquet label and Tony Wadsworth of EMI.

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Facing the music
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