Nowadays, you can literally grab any song or album form the ethereal plane that is the Internet at a moment’s notice. Go ahead; we’ll wait. But regardless of your thoughts about the intricacies of music downloading, there’s no arguing it has at least some impact on the artists who make said music. And in an instance to better protect themselves, the likes of The Kinks’ Ray Davies, Suede’s Bernard Butler, Noisettes, and more are banning together to ensure artists are paid appropriately by creating Music Matters.
The project works by creating a “trust mark”, or a badge of sorts, for legitimate music vendors to display. This shows users everything is on the up and up and that artists receive their royalties accordingly. The ultimate goal of the organization is to thus get fans away from file-sharing sites and toward venues like iTunes. Chris Morrison, who managers Blur, is one of the campaign’s supporters. He says that if artists are going to innovate, to “come out of the blue and do something incredibly radical”, then they actually have to sell albums and songs.
“My job is to make sure my artist gets properly compensated,” Morrison said. “An artist makes pennies per record. If the music is popular, you sell huge quantities. But in order to make money, you have to sell huge quantities.”
On top of the button, which the likes of HMV, MySpace Music, the aforementioned iTunes and other music providers have agreed to display, the project is also releasing several short films about Kate Bush, Nick Cave, and Louis Armstrong to remind people the depths it takes to make great music and the importance of paying for those sacrifices. Butler, though, seems to be most excited about how the films can reach people and not just their wallets.
“The great thing about this is that they’re seeing it as a very long-term educational thing about music, not whether you pay for it or not,” Butler said. “I don’t think this campaign or these films are trying to plead poverty. They don’t mention downloading, they’re actually talking about whether music means something. Not whether it’s worth £10.99 or £4.99 or 79p. They’re actually saying, does music do something to your life? Personally, I see plenty of money in the music business being made and I don’t think it’s at death’s door. What’s important for me as an artist is that I see kids being interested enough in music to make it.”
Enjoy the Music Matters film about The Jam below.