Antipiracy campaign to precede Grammys

LOS ANGELES: The Recording Academy will launch a public education campaign about music downloading the week of the Grammy Awards, this February.

LOS ANGELES: The Recording Academy will launch a public education campaign about music downloading the week of the Grammy Awards, this February.

The Academy has hired Edelman - including its advertising arm Blue and its research arm StrategyOne - to develop a campaign that will include a website, PSAs, and a number of local-market activities. The campaign is sure to be another salvo in the increasingly intense effort by the music and film industries to combat the file-sharing that has eaten into their businesses in recent years. However, both the Academy and Edelman described the effort as educational, developed in response to a year's worth of focus groups whose main finding was that many young consumers weren't aware of some of the effects of not paying for music.

"There was a lack of and need for information," said Ron Roecker, senior director of communications at the Academy. "People were actually looking for information when we asked them how songwriters, engineers, and producers got paid."

As a result, Roecker said, the campaign's messaging will focus on the economic toll on musicians and others involved in the making of music rather than the way downloading has hurt the labels' margins. Based on Roecker's account, it appears the campaign will be closer in tone and substance to the Motion Picture Association of America's PSA campaign depicting the plight of stuntmen and makeup artists instead of studio execs and millionaire actresses. Moreover, the campaign will take a softer approach than the Recording Industry Association of America's lawsuits earlier this year.

However, Roecker emphasized the supportive relationship between the Academy and the RIAA. "Through research, we know the lawsuits are effective in that they make people think twice, but that's not our role," he said. "It's our niche to do the education."

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