French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres met with representatives of the local music industry on Thursday for the first time.

French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres met with representatives of the local music industry on Thursday for the first time.

Donnedieu de Vabres, who took office early April, greeted representatives from labels bodies SNEP and UPFI, and from France's leading record companies and retailers. Piracy, musical diversity and the ongoing push to lower VAT on CDs were among the issues discussed. The minister confirmed his support for the latter move just last week.

Virgin Stores France president Jean-Noël Reinhardt, who was present at the meeting, says the minister agreed that a satisfactory online legal music service "needs to be rapidly installed" for the French market.

Independent labels body UPFI thanked the new minister for arranging the meeting, but stressed that the independent sector required special attention. In a statement, the body says: "Beyond the urgency of governmental support in elaborating a plan for fighting online piracy, independent labels are facing increasing difficulty in terms of media and retail access."

Criticizing the "absence of risk-taking" in commercial radio stations' playlists, the UPFI asked Donnedieu de Vabres to help ensure that radio and TV programming become more diverse.

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