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Rock stars of the world unite

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Members of Pink Floyd at the Live 8 concert in London, in this July 2005 photo.
Members of Pink Floyd at the Live 8 concert in London, in this July 2005 photo.

Owen Gibson

Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Robbie Williams among founders of

artists’ coalition

London: Millionaire rock stars are traditionally more synonymous with conspicuous consumption than the workers’ struggle. But artists, including Robbie Williams, Radiohead and The Verve, are among those who might be about to swap sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll for banners, braziers and manifestos — having formed a new organisation to stand up for their rights.

Among the dozens of founder members of the Featured Artists’ Coalition are Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Red Wedge veteran Billy Bragg, who did after all record ‘There is Power in a Union’, but also former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, The Klaxons, DJ Paul Oakenfold, Craig David, Iron Maiden and the Kaiser Chiefs. All argue that the new organisation, to be launched on October 5 at the In the City conference in Manchester, is vital to represent their interests as the music industry is turned on its head by digital distribution. Damon Gough, of Badly Drawn Boy, said: “I think with the digital age and record companies dispersing and disbanding, young bands need a governing voice that will support them and help protect their work.”

The organisation will “speak with one voice to help artists strike a new bargain with record companies, digital distributors and others ... by engaging with government, music and technology companies, and collection societies, arguing for fair play and, where necessary, exposing unfair practices,” he said.

The industry has been revolutionised since Napster sparked panic by bringing illegal file sharing to a mass audience 10 years ago; CD sales have collapsed and digital downloads have soared, but they have failed to make up the gap. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008

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