by mlp on 10/07/2002.

This morning, Jean Michel Jarre has attended a press conference in Brussels for the IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide.

The conference focused on the problems with illegal downloading of music on the internet or through CDR's, and was hosted by Jay Berman, Chairman of IFPI, John Kennedy, President and Chief Operating Office of Universal Music International, and Jean Michel Jarre, who has been a spokesman for the IFPI from 1998 to 2000.

Unlike previous actions where the organisation was exploring technical possibilities to prevent this theft, the IFPI is now attempting to change the attitude of the people, who have this "music for free" mentality. Jay Berman said, "'Music for Free' may sound attractive, but when it is taken without the permission of artists it comes at a high price for the entire music business and society in general. 'Music for Free' means less new music, fewer new artists, less choice, thousands less jobs and a poorer European culture. This is a critical issue in which European governments have an important role to play in terms of legislation and creating public awareness of the problem. The future success of the European music industry is at stake."

Jean Michel Jarre added: "I am a great believer in the value of music and the vital role it has to play in European culture. The talent and creativity of our artists is celebrated all over the world. But this success should not be taken for granted. If music is to continue to support the livelihoods of artists, it cannot be taken without the permission of artists."

He continued: "Governments can help support European music by promoting public awareness that when people take music that doesn't belong to them they undermine the future of those very artists whose work you enjoy. The EU could also show its support for the recording industry by lowering the high rate of VAT on CDs. Music should be treated the same way as other cultural goods that benefit from low VAT rates."

Jean Michel Jarre has been fighting for this cause since the beginning of his career, with his album Musique Pour Supermarché. He agrees however the MP3 problem is affecting more the small, independent artists and less the international stars who are selling millions of records. The gap between these two kind of artists is becoming wider and wider. Although this should not be surprising, and can certainly not be explained by just MP3's, since it is a trend that record shops are only selling the 'top-30' artists and records.

Jean Michel Jarre, who is in Brussels with his assistant Fiona Commins, will have meetings today with the IFPI and members of the European Commission, and will host this evening the fourth IFPI European Platinum Awards.

Some fans have contacted us about hearing a possible radio broadcast of the awards this evening on Belgian radio station Bel RTL after reading it online, however we have been assured by the IFPI there will be no live broadcast at all. According to Bel RTL, the plan is for their journalist to be in the media room during the awards and to update every 30 minutes betweem 19h and 23h, but they have not received agreement from the IFPI, so it is possible their will be no updates on the staion at all.

To date only RTL TVI has shown a feature in their 13h Journal (click link to watch the article, 13h journal on mercredi 10 Juillet 2002).

Several articles are expected to be published in Belgian newspapers like Le Soir and La Dernière Heure, and international press like The Times, Bulletin, Music and Media, Billboard. We will keep you fully updated with all related articles.