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Heroes: British music stars come out in support of fans over music downloads

The days of the music industry being able to justify their actions as being in defense of artists may be coming to an end.

140 of Britain’s biggest rock and pop stars have joined to form the Featured Artists Coalition, a group that aims to speak collectively on behalf of musicians, instead of the music industry. Members include the cream of the British music industry, including Robbie Williams, Annie Lennox, Billy Bragg, Blur’s David Rowntree, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Peter Gabriel, David Gray, Fran Healy from Travis, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Mick Jones from The Clash and many more.

There first decision: voting against the prosecution of ordinary members of the public for illegally downloaded music.

Billy Bragg told The Indpendent: “What I said at the meeting was that the record industry in Britain is still going down the road of criminalizing our audience for downloading illegal MP3s. If we follow the music industry down that road, we will be doing nothing more than being part of a protectionist effort. It’s like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.”

Bragg said that the group wants to tell the UK Government “that we want to side with the audience, the consumer”.

The group is primarily focused on pushing a fairer deal for musicians. Bragg again: “Artists should own their own rights and they should decide when their music should be used for free, or when they should have payment.”