Home Taping Is Killing Music

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The original logo.

"Home Taping Is Killing Music" was the slogan of a 1980s anti-copyright infringement campaign by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), a British music industry trade group. With the rise in cassette recorder popularity, the BPI feared that people being able to record music from the radio onto cassettes would cause a decline in record sales. The logo, consisting of a skull and crossbones formed from the silhouette of a cassette, also included the words And It's Illegal.

The campaign has in recent years had its revival, as the Norwegian branch of IFPI launched a new campaign named Piracy Kills Music. The campaign has exactly the same message, same name and even very similar logos. The campaign won the Norwegian 2008 Gulltaggen award for "Best Internet Strategy" with much controversy.


[edit] Parodies

Example of a parody on the original logo.
Another example of a parody on the original logo.

The slogan was often parodied, one example being the addendum and it's about time too!, used by Dutch anarcho-punk band The Ex. Another example was the early 1980s counter-slogan Home Taping is Skill in Music, referring to early mixtapes, in some ways a precursor to sampling and remixes. In 1981 the Dead Kennedys printed "Home taping Is killing big business profits. We left this side blank so you can help" on one side of In God We Trust, Inc. EP. The cassette & crossbones image was displayed briefly as a backdrop in the "Time Out For Fun" video by the band Devo from their 1982 album, "Oh, No! It's Devo". Venom's classic 1982 album Black Metal had some play with the logo; it read Home Taping Is Killing Music; So Are Venom. The phrase Home-Taping Is Making Music appears on the back cover of Peter Principle's self-produced 1988 album Tone Poems. The San Diego punk band Rocket from the Crypt sold T-shirts with the tape and bones and the words "Home Taping Is Killing the Music Industry: Killing Ain't Wrong." Sonic Youth has t-shirts with the cassette and sonic youth written under it.[1] The cover of Billy Bragg's album Workers Playtime featured a notice reading "Capitalism is killing music - pay no more than £4.99 for this record".[2] Mitch Benn also comments "home taping isn't killing music, music's dying of natural causes" in the song "steal this song" from the album Radioface. Another variant is "home sex is killing prostitution".

More recently, the pro-p2p file sharing group Downhill Battle has used the slogan "Home Taping Is Killing the Music Industry, and It's Fun" on T-shirts, and the BitTorrent website The Pirate Bay uses the logo of a pirate ship whose sails bear the "tape and bones." Additionally the Pirate Party in the UK have a version of the tape and bones with the logo "copyright is killing music - and it's legal" and the Swedish Piratbyrån is using the same tape and bones as their logo.

Similar rhetoric has continued; in 1982 Jack Valenti famously compared the VCR and its anticipated effect on the movie industry to the Boston Strangler, and in 2005 Mitch Bainwol of the RIAA claimed that CD burning is hurting music sales.

[edit] Other references

  • "Home Taping's Killing Music" is also the title of a short song by Misty's Big Adventure, a band from Birmingham, which takes the implications of this slogan to their illogical conclusion.
  • In 2005, Zane Lowe, a DJ on Radio 1, toured around the United Kingdom with the Home Taping Tour. The promotional materials for this tour bore the skull-and-bones logo.
  • X-Press 2's music video Witchi Tai To includes anthropomorphic compact cassettes. Also, a man from the music video wears a red "Home Taping Is Killing Music" shirt.
  • The IT Crowd had a parody "Home Sewing is killing fashion" poster in Roy's kitchen.
  • German Hip Hop group Fettes Brot used the logo on the cover of their 2001 album "Demotape".

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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