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Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Jarre backs anti-piracy drive
Jean Michel Jarre performing
Jarre called on governments to help the industry
French musician Jean Michel Jarre has joined record company bosses in attacking the "music-for-free mentality" at an awards ceremony.

The fourth Industry Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) Platinum awards heard the bosses' plea for reduced VAT on music, in response to increasing piracy on the internet.

IFPI chairman Jay Berman warned that illegal downloading of music is now so routine it is seriously hitting CD sales.


If the prevailing music-for-free mentality is left unchecked, record companies will no longer be able to invest

John Kennedy
Universal Music
He warned that sales big enough to qualify for the awards, which honour artists selling one million albums in Europe, could be made impossible by the trend towards illegal downloading.

Jarre said at the Brussels ceremony: "If music is to continue to support the livelihoods of artists, it cannot be taken without the permission of artists."

The prizes were presented by EC vice-president Neil Kinnock, including one for Luciano Pavarotti, who received a standing ovation for selling 100 million albums and taking opera to the masses.

Sir Bob Geldof and boy band Blue also attended.

Opera star Luciano Pavarotti
Pavarotti was given a standing ovation
Mr Berman expressed his concerns about piracy by saying that in the year 2000 seven artists managed more than five million sales in Europe - but none achieved the figure last year and none so far in 2002.

"Music-for-free may sound attractive, but when it is taken without the permission of artists, it comes at a high price for the entire music business and society in general," he said.

"Music-for-free means less new music, fewer new artists, less choice, thousands fewer jobs and a poorer European culture."

Mr Kinnock warned consumers tempted to buy cheap pirate CDs that the effect extended beyond the music industry.

Neil Kinnock
Neil Kinnock warned about organised crime
"The money often goes to organised crime networks that use the easy revenue from illegal CDs to finance drug dealing, trafficking in arms and people and every other kind of villainy," he said.

"Increased piracy leads to a dead end in music."

IFPI officials have held talks with EC, seeking new measures to curb free downloading under EU copyright laws.

It follows a 5% drop in sales figures for IFPI last year for recorded music worldwide.

The biggest downturns in Europe were in Denmark, down 19%, and in Belgium and Austria, down 10%.

Sales are holding up in Britain and France, but John Kennedy, president of Universal Music International, said: "If the prevailing music-for-free mentality is left unchecked, record companies will no longer be able to invest up to 15% of their revenues in discovering the artists of the future."

See also:

27 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
23 May 02 | Science/Nature
20 May 02 | Science/Nature
18 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
03 Jun 02 | Business
12 Nov 01 | Science/Nature
11 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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