By Richard Menta 8/17/06
The protest by a pubescent singer songwriter smacks of being a publicity stunt, which it is. But, Amy Thomas' action staged on the front steps of the headquarters of the British music industry also demonstrates the different attitudes towards file sharing held by those yet to become teenagers.
According to the Inquirer, Amy was selected as one of ten musicians to be showcased on a new British Phonographic Industry (BPI) chart called My Music that is to be targeted this fall to 1,400 grade schools in the UK. Alas, Amy did not sign with a major label. Instead she signed with an independent called Flowerburger Records who openly oppose the BPI's lawsuits against file sharers. Amy supports this sentiment too. "All my friends do it. It just seems like the natural thing to do." Because of this stance the BPI yanked Amy from this chart, muzzling her visibility to the little schoolchildren they are marketing to.
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So Amy - or probably her publicity machine - went on the offensive. Banned from the chart, they culled together 50 or so kids from networking site Bebo and organized the protest, which featured balloons carrying the title of Amy's latest single "Just Smile".
Aside from the publicity stunt, the fact that Amy can draw a few dozen young protesters so quickly lays bare the fact that young people today are more comfortable with sharing digital files than they are purchasing CDs. They are also rabid about their favorite artists and are quick to attack any perceived slight against them. That's a new combined social pattern the record industry both abroad and in the US better learn how to live with, because these habits die hard. When the subject of you adoration says file sharing is good, who is a 10 year-old kid going to believe, them or some corporate entity? That type of PR can go farther than a hundred music charts.
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