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The BBC's Internet Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones
"Music on the net might not be so free"
 real 56k

Monday, 27 November, 2000, 10:02 GMT
Stars fight music-swap sites
Sir Elton
Sir Elton lends his voice to music awareness campaign
Sir Elton John, Billie Piper and Basement Jaxx are all backing a British campaign to raise awareness of the "threat" free music on the internet could have on the music industry.

The organisers, British Music Rights, want to highlight the effect file-swapping internet services such as Napster may have on the future of music.


We believe the public has become used to the idea that they have music for nothing

Guy Fletcher

The Respect The Value Of Music campaign, which is launched on Monday, claims that web-based free music services could cost the industry about 3bn a year worldwide by 2005.

Services such as Napster and MP3.com allow users to swap music files over the net without owning an original copy, such as a CD, of the chosen music.

Guy Fletcher, chairman of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, said the object of the campaign was to tell people that "music has a value".

"You hear music when you go to the shops, when you're driving in a car - it's everywhere and we do everything to music.

"But we believe the public has become used to the idea that they have music for nothing - and we are suffering greatly."

Mr Fletcher said there were about 29,000 music writers in Britain, contributing 3bn to the UK economy.

But the vast majority did not earn a great deal, he said.

Mr Fletcher also pointed to the falling sales of CDs across Europe as a worrying trend.

A survey of internet users last week revealed that 33% of those polled said they would have a "virtual record collection" including material downloaded from the internet by 2005.

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See also:

25 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Chumbawamba's MP3 blast
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
CDs 'set for scrap heap'
27 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Music 'at a price'
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