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Panel tunes in concerns

Music orgs form task force on CD marketing to children

Responding to harsh criticism from lawmakers over the music industry’s marketing practices, the Recording Industry Assn. of America and the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers are forming a “parental advisory compliance task force” to help the industry comply with existing guidelines.

Move follows the recent release of a Federal Trade Commission report excoriating the record industry for doing virtually nothing to curb the marketing to young people of albums with explicit lyrics.

“We are going to do a better job — particularly in those areas pointed out in the FTC report where the industry’s implementation of its own guidelines was lacking,” said RIAA topper Hilary Rosen.

Specifically, Rosen said the task force would encourage record companies who market CDs with parental advisory warning labels on them to make the labels clearly visible on all consumer print advertising.

The task force also will prod online retailers to display the label “in all stages of the shopping transaction,” per the FTC’s recommendation, and to post Web links to www.parentalguide.org, a site that explains the advisory program.

Even while striking a conciliatory tone, however, Rosen reiterated her opposition to legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) that would enable the FTC to impose fines on entertainment companies that flout their own voluntary marketing guidelines for explicit content.

“We will continue to stand on principle against unconstitutional legislation and forced changes to our parental advisory program that would jeopardize the rights of our artists to express themselves freely,” she said, alluding to the Lieberman bill.

Rosen plans to meet with industry heads over the next several weeks to discuss the initiative and request that they each assign an executive to work with the task force.