We thought it would be interesting to develop and implement an online benchmarking process that would set a series of criteria up as representing ethical, sustainable music industry practices that parallel the ethical trading standards set by Fair Trade grocery items. We thought it would be important to make it so that consumers had the opportunity to easily choose Fair Trade alternatives, just as there are Organic Food sections in supermarkets.
We would love to see a Fair Trade Music section in Amazon and on iTunes as well as elsewhere online and off. We believe that just as they do with Fairtrade groceries, consumers would be encouraged to consider the practices that support the music that they buy, and make decisions informed by those practices.
Fair trade music need not necessarily be more expensive – in fact, it may actually be cheaper than the alternatives, but they would represent not just a better deal for the featured artist, but a more sustainable and less exploitative music industry overall.
We do not pretend to know or have a grasp of all of the criteria that would ideally be included as part of the benchmarking process. We think that would need to be negotiated amongst all interested parties, and conducted as part of a proper research project.
Our idea was to consult with a range of consumers, musicians and music industry workers to try and ascertain what those criteria would be for Fair Trade in the music sector – whether it be that record label deals offered artists a particular split of the proceeds, that contracts were only of a certain duration, that artists had a certain degree of creative control unfettered by commercial imperatives, that CD covers were made of renewable resources… stuff like that.Fair trade music – New Music Strategies
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