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Blur drummer leads stars' 'union'

20 January 09 09:03 GMT
By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News at Midem, Cannes

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien and singer Kate Nash are among the stars leading a new lobbying group for rock and pop stars.

Soul II Soul star Jazzie B and hip-hop MC Master Shortie are also on the steering committee for the Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC).

The body, which launched in October, aims to give artists a voice in big decisions in the music industry.

Rowntree, a prospective Labour MP, wrote its first newsletter.

In it, he said he had met Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, and set out the body's main demands.

They included closing a copyright loophole that allowed music to be used on DVDs without the artists getting paid, and being involved in new technology deals.

The five committee members, plus some of the other 700 artists who have signed up to the FAC, will have their first official meeting in London next month.

Brian Message, who co-manages Radiohead, Kate Nash and Master Shortie, among others, helped set up the FAC.

"As the rules of the business and changing and as artists are having to step up to take on more responsibility for their own careers, there's a requirement for them to know what's going on on a business, legal, creative agenda," he said.

"The Featured Artists' Coalition will help educate artists and then let them have a voice in what's going on."

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