The French music industry has launched a national billboard campaign urging consumers to download music legally.

The French music industry has launched a national billboard campaign urging consumers to download music legally.

A previous campaign in June 2004 focused on the risks faced by illegal downloaders. The new initiative utilizes shots of 14 artists with the tag line: "Download us legally." The billboards refer consumers to industry-backed Web site promusic.com, which lists all the sites in France that offer legal downloads. The industry claims that 400,000 tracks are now available legitimately in the country.

The €1 million ($1.3 million) educational campaign will run through Jan. 24 in 29 French cities, on a total of 2,700 billboards.

Artists involved include Isabelle Boulay, Calogero, Louis Chédid, Corneille, Billy Crawford, Gérald de Palmas, Garou, Françoise Hardy, Eddy Mitchell, Nadiya, Renaud, Tragédie, Véronique Sanson and Zazie.

The initiative is organized by labels bodies SNEP and UPFI, collecting societies SCPP and SPPF and authors rights society Sacem. The campaign has been endorsed by the ministry of culture and communication.

This campaign marks the first joint initiative taken by SNEP, which represents all the majors and some independent labels, and UPFI, which represents indies only. At the Midem trade show next week in Cannes, the two organizations plan to sign a joint platform to strengthen cooperation. The platform covers three areas: the fight against Internet piracy, combining educational and litigation measures; the need for greater musical diversity on radio; and better exposure for new talent on television.