Lily Allen speaks out against file-sharing

Singer hits out at statement from other artists on gov't plans

LONDON -- U.K. pop act Lily Allen has written a lengthy diatribe against illegal file-sharing, prompted by some "really rich and successful artists" who publicly stated that P2P users should not have their Internet connections cut.

Musicians including Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Billy Bragg and Blur Drummer Dave Rowntree expressed their concern at government proposals to suspend repeat infringers' Web access, which would "criminalize" fans.

They belong to the Featured Artists Coalition, which drew up a resolution, supported by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and the Music Producers' Guild, stating that this "is not a policy that any future-minded U.K. government should pursue." It said that ministers should focus on new business models.

However, Allen has hit out at the statement. "I think music piracy is having a dangerous effect on British music, but some really rich and successful artists like Nick Mason from Pink Floyd and Ed O'Brien from Radiohead don't seem to think so," she wrote on her MySpace blog. "It probably is fine for them. They do sell-out arena tours and have the biggest Ferrari collections in the world. For new talent though, file-sharing is a disaster as it's making it harder and harder for new acts to emerge."

"Ferrari collections" is a reference to Mason, who has owned Ferraris as part of a large car collection.

Allen also countered the argument that file-sharing brings new fans. "This is great if you're a big artist at the back end of your career with loads of albums to flog to a new audience, but emerging artists don't have this luxury," she wrote.

The EMI artist added: "I've only just finished paying off all the money I owe my record company. I'm lucky that I've been successful and managed to pay it back, but not everyone's so lucky.

"You might not care about this, but the more difficult it is for new artists to make it, the less new artists you'll see and the more British music will be nothing but puppets paid for by Simon Cowell. And it's not like there aren't alternatives to illegal downloads anyway. Sites like Spotify give us access to new music and different music without having to rip someone off -- you can listen to tracks and see if you like them before you buy them. Then obviously there's MySpace, that streams music and helps acts like me get enough fans to convince record companies to sign us up."

However, she denied that she was lining up alongside music industry executives, who she said have "been naive and complacent about new technology -- and they've spent all the money they've earned on their own fat salaries not industry development."

She added: "But as they start to lose big from piracy, they're not slashing their salaries - they're pulling what they invest in A&R. Lack of funds results in A&R people not being able to take risks and only signing acts they think will work, which again makes British music (become) Cowell puppets."

"We need to find new ways to help consumers access and buy music legally, but saying file-sharing's fine is not helping anyone -- and definitely not helping British music," she concluded. "I want to get people working together to use new digital opportunities to encourage new artists."

Her post has received more than 120 comments taking both sides.