WASHINGTON, DC: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is mounting a massive PR campaign aimed at discouraging people - especially the Napster-happy college crowd - from downloading free music from the Internet.
WASHINGTON, DC: The Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) is mounting a massive PR campaign aimed at discouraging people -
especially the Napster-happy college crowd - from downloading free music
from the Internet.
Should it achieve this lofty goal, record labels could recoup billions
in lost sales. So far, the RIAA’s grass-roots tactics have included
dispatching staffers to speak on college campuses and recruiting
musicians such as Lou Reed and Dr. Dre to speak out on the issue of
According to RIAA SVP of communications Amy Weiss, a concerted pitch is
now being made to parents and children, as well as the general media,
opinion-makers and legislators.
’It’s important to reach parents through publications like Good
Housekeeping to tell them what their kids are doing - downloading music
illegally in their rooms,’ said Weiss.
To hit the kiddie demographic, Weiss said the RIAA is developing an
elementary school curriculum about music. ’The core message is that
music is meaningful,’ she explained. ’It has both intrinsic and material
value to the artists and companies involved.’
While the RIAA may have already won significant battles on Capitol Hill
and in the courtroom - including a recent copyright infringement ruling
against MP3.com - the group faces an uphill journey in the arena of
’The more they do to discourage downloading, the more college students
will want to do it,’ said Jennifer Gross, whose LA-based firm, People’s
Revolution, represents many digital entertainment and music
’Also, the industry needs the Internet community for the future, so to
attack the Web sites makes absolutely no sense.’
Weiss countered by saying that the ’sound-biting’ campaign has
’At the universities where we have sent people in to speak, piracy has
gone down,’ she claimed.
Soundbreak CEO Lisa Crane, a firm believer in the RIAA’s cause and
approach, said, ’I don’t think people realize that they’re stealing and
that this hurts people who need to put food on the table. The problem
the RIAA has is that they represent record labels and could be easily
dismissed by the public. They will have to disassociate themselves from
these companies to be successful.’
Gary Brotman, communications director for MusicMatch.com, agreed: ’Any
effort to emphasize to people that there is theft involved in
downloading free music is probably good.’