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Friday, 14 July, 2000, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Music's millionaires club honoured
Phil Collins and Neil Kinnock
Phil Collins shares a joke with Neil Kinnock
Spice Girl Melanie C and The Corrs were among the guests at a star-studded awards ceremony to honour artists who have sold more than a million albums in Europe.

The annual Platinum Awards are put on by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries, who represent the interests of recording artists.

The ceremony in Brussels, which was hosted by Phil Collins, also acts as a back-slapping exercise for the ever-growing European music industry, which now accounts for a third of the global market.

Mel C
A delighted Mel C holds aloft her award

All told, there were 139 million-selling artists across Europe over the past year, ranging from Madonna to Julio Iglesias.

Collins said: "This is an award based on fact. It's the people who have bought the most records who are basically giving the awards."

European Commission President Romano Prodi also attended the ceremony to pay tribute to the industry, which has seen its turnover double in the last 10 years.

"It is a success, a lot has been done," he enthused.

The awards were distributed by former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, now a European Commissioner.

Piracy

Mr Kinnock said the industry had "demonstrated its breadth of ability and technical competence" to move ahead of the Americans in the global market.

But while that was a "cause for celebration", Mr Kinnock also urged politicians and musicians to work together to end the threat of internet piracy.

"It has got to be dealt with, because if we conceded to piracy it would be a disaster not only for the industry but the fans as well."

Mr Kinnock laughed and joked with Phil Collins - despite the musician's reported threats to leave the UK if the then-Labour leader became prime minister.

Earlier, The Corrs had been confirmed as the new official voice of the European music industry in the fight against illegal recordings - taking over from Jean Michel Jarre, who was also honoured at the IFPI bash.

The Corrs
The Corrs celebrate at the Platinum Awards

Melanie C, whose debut solo album Northern Star proved a big hit with fans, said she was looking forward to a Spice Girls reunion in November, prior to the release of their third album.

"We have been very lucky to have a lot of support in Europe," she said. "It's home, it is places we travelled to when we were younger."

She added that the reaction they get from fans varies from country to country.

"In Italy, Spain and France they are more passionate, but in Scandinavia and places like that they are a little bit more reserved. The English are also quite reserved - but the Americans are a whole different ball game."

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See also:

13 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Corrs join net piracy fight
19 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Court victory for Collins
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