JoongAng Daily. May 8, 2004
By Wohn Dong-hee
Korean pop singers have taken up their mikes, not to belt out their latest hits but to protest the inclusion of music players using the compressed MP3 format in cell phones.
About 50 musicians and music industry executives gathered in front of the LG Twin Towers in Yeouido yesterday afternoon protesting LG Telecom’s cell phone-music technology. The MP3 format compresses music to a size that can be easily stored in a cell phone or small music player and, more alarmingly, passed from hand to hand over the Internet.
Wearing sashes and hoisting picket signs, the pop stars claimed that LG was promoting illegal distribution of music. Near the end of the rally, five recording label managers shaved their heads as a sign of protest.
“LG ignored agreements and released the phones without prior notice,” said Kwon In-ha, a singer and music producer. He was referring to an agreement that LG and other cell phone makers made with music associations last month to limit the length of time any single music file could be played on handsets to 72 hours. The cell phone makers had also agreed to degrade the quality of music played on their phones.
LG Telecom responded that it was doing nothing more than integrating a widely available technology into its cell phones.