The Inquirer published a story today about Amy Thomas – a 12 year old schoolgirl musician – who was apparently banned by the BPI from appearing in a new music chart for kids because of she was signed to a record label that favours file sharing. The disgruntled would-be starlet supposedly rallied support via her Bebo page and protested outside the BPIís offices with 50 other schoolgirls, with balloons and t-shorts advertising her forthcoming single. The BPI were reported as not being willing to comment.
On the surface this seems like another Big Bad BPI story combined with a label PR stunt. But scratch a little deeper and not everything adds up. Firstly, there doesnít appear to be a page for Amy Thomas on Bebo. There are two Amy Thomasís but neither appear to be this one, and neither have any mention of a protest. Nor is there any link to a Bebo page on Amyís web site.
Next, when you take a look on her record label there isnít any mention of her, nor any artist for that matter. A bit of an oversight if this was meant to be a publicity stunt for selling records. In fact all the web page of Flowerburger records seems to be is a soap box for protesting against the BPIís legal action against file sharers. Their tag line of ďThe Music Industry is Battling Illegal Downloading By Suing Music FansĒ sort of betrays their leanings. They also have a petition against the BPI, which is the only place on the whole web site that youíll find Amy Thomasí name. Click on their MySpace page and again no mention of any artists, but plenty of anti-industry rhetoric.
So who are Flowerburger records. Well if the definition of a record label is releasing records then Flowerburger donít quite seem to fit the bill. But theyíve done a lot to protest against the BPI and even the RIAA. A click on their one banner advert takes you to savethemusicfan.com which is run by Terry McBride, famed for his vociferous opposition to the RIAA. And who, by sheer coincidence [sic] keeps cropping up in stories and blog entries in conjunction with a certain Chris Thomas, who just happens to be the founder of Flowerburger records.
Added to all this, it transpires that Amy had an expensive PR agency behind her protest and the BPI werenít actually asked to comment. Iíll leave you to conclude what you think the real story is. Jupiterís SVP of Sales Kieran Kelly is fond of the phrase that Ďthere are three sides to every story: one sideís, the otherís and the truth, somewhere in between.í
Whatever the murky truth may be, if this was meant to be a publicity stunt to sell records, it was poorly executed. If it was a publicity stunt to raise the profile of opposition to the BPIís law suits, then the pieces of the plot fit together fairly well, but it still didnít do that great a job. None of the broadsheets have picked up the story (at least not yet).
I just hope that Amy hasnít been used to further some one elseís agenda, and that she really does get her stab at being a pop star.