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Business News (more headlines) 03-14-2009

UK Music Statement: Google Must Pay Our Songwriters And Composers

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Great music attracts an audience. This has always been true, and it is true now, more so than ever. Internet start-ups have quickly learned that they can build huge user-numbers by offering access to our members' music.

Creativity is the lifeblood of the digital economy.

Such popularity is also proof of music's huge intrinsic value. Without this high quality raw material - generated by the endeavours and creativity of our songwriters, composers, artists and musicians and all those who invest in them - sites such as YouTube would be somewhat less compelling.

However, whether online or offline, demands that our creative talent should subsidise someone else's business model is as unreasonable as it is inappropriate.

Licensing embryonic start-ups has brought significant challenges to all creative businesses. There still are challenges - for both sides - although they can and will be overcome. A huge diversity of licensed digital music services are already active in the UK, and as an industry we remain committed to growing the future of our business.

Google, however, qualifies as neither embryonic nor a start-up. In 2008 alone, the internet search giant recorded profits of over 3bn.

By comparison, PRS for Music is a not-for-profit organisation, run by its members for its members.

In this light, it is difficult but to interpret Google's actions this week as anything other than cynical and exploitative.

Such unheralded and counter-productive negotiation tactics are not only detrimental to music fans, but also to the UK's songwriters and composers.

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