Drummer Dave Rowntree urges the music industry to change or face defeat...

Blur drummer DAVE ROWNTREE has joined the battle over MP3 and the rising row over NAPSTER, saying that the music industry must change copyright laws or face defeat in the face of new technology.

Dave, the most teched-up member of the band, believes that MP3 downloading itself is not the problem. “The MP3 scare is just a smokescreen really. Anyone who thinks that MP3 files are the issue hasn’t thought it through properly,” he told

He added that copyright laws would have to change, but that heavy-handed tactics were the wrong way to go about it.


He added: “The copyright laws were never designed to cover technology like the Internet, so it’s not surprising that they are falling to pieces.

“The kind of music they were designed to deal with was made by two people standing next to a piano, one writing the tune, and the other writing the words. The most complex machine that was even thought about was a player piano. Even the rules governing artists royalties are based around the concept of selling sheet music and piano rolls.”

He continued: “The idea of copyright and what it means for a writer to own a song or a recording are going to have to change. I do think that artists, writers and musicians should earn money from what they create, but it is pointless trying blindly to apply the old rules when the world has changed so much.”

However, Belle And Sebastian‘s record label Jeepster have entered the battle with a far more hardline view against what they see as the piracy inherent in MP3.

Speaking exclusively to, a spokesperson told emphatically: “Jeepster is 100% against the use of any software that encourages or endorses the illegal piracy of music that we strive to bring to people. We (the label and artists that we represent) have a right to earn a living from the art that is created and brought to the public’s attention. We will openly support any move against piracy whether this be Internet-based or more traditional bootlegging and will prosecute when and where applicable.”

The spokesperson continued: “Independent labels, because they create some of the most diverse, interesting and moving music, regardless of genre, are in the worst position possible.


“Their music is in the most demand by people that love music, and it is this sector of people who are most likely to feel that music is a right, because they classify music as being vital to existence – unlike pop music and major label fodder which is largely disposable.

“So whilst independents are in the lowest-earning bracket of the entire music industry, we are the biggest-moving target for Internet piracy since we can afford to do so little. Though we create some of the best music, it is increasingly difficult for an independent to have the resources to track piracy globally.”

They added that a greater threat now came from a new application called Gnutella, the follow-up to Napster, which is a standard for transferring files, which is simpler to use and virtually impossible to trace.

The Jeepster spokesperson concluded: “Our stance on ALL things like this should be that music is not a right, it is a luxury. Some people may regard music as a vital need, and we are in that category… but we recognise that both the artist and label have a right to earn a living for the music they create and bring to us.”

See our special feature for an in-depth appraisal of the rows for and against MP3 and Napster technology [url=]click here.

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