“A CD that made some noise!”- Tackling Criminalisation of File-sharers & Downloaders

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Should Young Greens publish C.Ds? Yes they should. A success story from Luxembourg:

Share My Music Campaign

Share My Music Campaig

In 2008, déi jonk gréng (Luxembourg Young Greens) were unhappy about the criminalisation and stigmatisation of people who download music from the internet, especially young people. The music industry and some sections of the political world had missed the technological progress of the last decade and thought it could solve the phenomenon by simply adopting restrictive and draconic laws. With little representation and power, young internet users were quickly put under general suspicion. Besides the stigmatisation of young people, law makers and the courts had made the mistake of including the people that the lobby claimed suffered most under “illegal downloads”: the artists. For déi jonk gréng it was clear that this could not stand. Our idea was it to create a free C.D and organise a concert to launch it. In late 2008, we pulled together all our contacts in the music industry: Producers, artists, music students and journalists (published and non-published from street musicians to national top acts) and held a first internal meeting with them. After that we issued a small “manifesto” signed by 30 bands where we presented our views on File-Sharing. In the call we emphasised how bands are stressing the importance of free circulation and access to their arts and songs, how the lobby has missed the technological evolution and promoting new ways of publishing and billing, like for instance a “cultural flatline” instead of persecution for sharing and downloading a couple of songs.

Now the real work began. Bands and artists donated over 500 songs to us for the C.D, and the Executive Committee of déi jonk gréng spent a weekend listening to MP3s C.Ds to select 18 songs. After that, we gave the order to print 5000; for Luxembourg a rather big number. On our website we made a broader selection of songs available for download, and for each download, the artists themselves received a small amount of money, but still substantially higher than which the industry and the record labels were paying. This was for us also a way to show how most young artists are being ripped off.

The press jumped on the initiative with much interest, with only a small amount of negativity from them. “A CD that makes a lot of noise” was the title of a major newspaper in Luxembourg which we even used later in our campaign. We also had several radio stations that presented our C.D, played music from it and we were invited to present our initiative on radio shows. Naturally, some record labels were not so happy about the campaign and the national registry of artists was very sceptical about the project. Especially the title “Share My Music” made them already very nervous. In a couple of meetings with them we managed to convince them about our ideas and intentions and even gained them as a partner for the initiative and they even adopted our compilation into their national repertoire.

The day of the concert arrived and we had booked one of the most symbolic concert halls of Luxembourg, so we were very eager to see if the campaigning was successful and if people would actually attend a “political” concert. And they did. In total, nearly a thousand people attended the event.

As well as starting the debate around the topic, we had managed to give representation to young artists and especially young internet users. Up to this date, Filesharing and Downloading is not illegal in Luxembourg, and sometimes on a nostalgic night, we like to believe that that we played a part in that happening. Although we spent a couple of thousand Euros on the campaign (5000 to be exact) the campaign can also be reproduced on a smaller scale as for instance on the regional or local level. 4 years after the action, many people still contact us if we have more C.Ds. And we are planning a revival of the “share my music” campaign very soon.

Share My Music Concert

Share My Music Concert

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