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British pop stars form group to demand more power
Some of Britain's biggest music stars announced Saturday they are banding together to demand greater control over their music in the digital age.
Radiohead, Robbie Williams and Kaiser Chiefs are among more than 60 founding members of the Featured Artists' Coalition.
The group says it wants musicians rather than record labels to retain control over the rights to their music. It says new technology is rapidly changing the music industry, and artists are often left out when their songs are distributed over the Internet or mobile phone networks.
"It is time for artists to have a strong collective voice to stand up for their interests," said Brian Message, co-manager of Radiohead and the singer Kate Nash. "The digital landscape is changing fast and new deals are being struck all the time, but all too often without reference to the people who actually make the music."
Musicians are increasingly turning to the Internet -- and sometimes bypassing traditional record labels -- to distribute their music. Radiohead released the "In Rainbows" album through the band's Web site, and Oasis is offering its new album, "Dig Out Your Soul," on social networking site MySpace before its official release.
Jazz Summers, manager of The Verve, said the coalition would "seek to improve the treatment of artists within the business and campaign to update laws and practices that better reflect the new music landscape."
"Digital technology gives artists the opportunity to control their future -- this is the time to seize that opportunity," he said.
Billy Bragg, Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour are among signatories to the coalition's founding charter. The group plans an official launch Sunday at the In the City music event in Manchester.