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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Jackson backs 'justice' campaign
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson has earned millions from his recording career
Multimillionaire pop legend Michael Jackson has joined a coalition demanding "justice" for recording artists.

The newly formed New York-based National Action Network (Nan) will investigate whether artists are being financially exploited by record labels.

It is headed by the radical civil rights campaigner, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and infamous lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

"Record companies have to start treating their artists with respect, honour and financial justice," said Jackson in a statement.


We hope that this initiative would make it possible where one day the artist on the CD is as big as the companies that put out the CD

Reverend Al Sharpton
"Therefore, I am proud to join this coalition which represents all artists."

Sharpton says too many performers were left penniless after years of making millions for record labels.

"It is our intention to break up the kinds of indentured servant-type of arrangement that many in the record industry now have with record companies," he said.

"We hope that this initiative would make it possible where one day the artist on the CD is as big as the companies that put out the CD."

Second coalition

Sharpton and Cochran said complaints included record company policies that force artists to cover promotional costs such as videos.

The pair said they would be willing to work with the Recording Artists Coalition (Rac), which is demanding new relationships with record labels, including fairer contracts and more oversight of accounting practices.

Reverend Al Sharpton
Sharpton is better known as a civil rights firebrand
Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel and Clint Black are among the artists who are part of the Rac coalition.

"We prefer conversation to litigation, but if we have to litigate we will," Sharpton said.

In order to force the hand majors, Sharpton said Nan would be using its influence with radio stations to organise a boycott of material from companies deemed as treating their artists unfairly.

"The lifeline of any music company is air play," he said.

Nan will be organising meetings with the heads of AOL Time Warner, BMG, Vivendi Universal, Sony and EMI, as well as calling a "summit" of recording artists in the next three weeks.

See also:

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