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Oxfam release music download service backed by Coldplay, Faithless and George Michael


Story: Jack Foley

A GROUND-breaking new venture from Oxfam - www.bignoisemusic.com - was launched on Wednesday, May 26, giving music fans the chance to download selected records from a choice of 300,000 tracks in the knowledge that their money is going to a good cause.

The selection includes exclusives from Faithless and George Michael, with 10p from every pound spent on the site going directly to Oxfam, with songs costing from as little as 75p each.

Adrian Lovett, Oxfam’s director of campaigns and communications, explained: "Bignoisemusic.com works for everyone. Music lovers get great tracks, and artists see their music helping some of the poorest people in the world, through real cash support, and by building the world-wide movement to Make Trade Fair."

Oxfam has received positive endorsement for www.bignoisemusic.com from the music industry, from record labels to artists and managers.

Artists have provided exclusive tracks for the site, launching with Coldplay and George Michael, as well as competition prizes such as unique gold discs and digital music players.

Chris Martin, of Coldplay, thinks downloading from www.bignoisemusic.com is ‘a good idea when you know your money is going to help some of the world’s poorest people’.

And Alison Wenham, chief executive of AIM, said: "Aim welcomes Oxfam's entry into the digital music market. So many of our members will applaud and support the marriage of music with a mission to help poor people around the world."

Visitors will also be able to sign up to Oxfam’s global petition, called the Big Noise, calling on governments and world leaders to Make Trade Fair.

Over five million people have signed the petition, ranging from coffee farmers, through to influential people, like the Dalai Lama, to people here in the UK, through to artists such as Mr Martin.

OnDemand Distribution (OD2), Europe’s leading digital distributor of music, is providing the back-end technology, licensing and billing.

OD2's platform allows access to over 300,000 tracks from major and independent labels, in the Windows media format.

OD2 currently provide digital download services for other big names, including HMV, Coke, MSN and Tiscali.

Examples of what the money spent on Big Noise Music could buy

l 20p paid to Oxfam. This could buy five packets of oral re-hydration salts. Diarrhoea can be a killer if it is not treated. In refugee camps, children and older people are particularly vulnerable. £5 could buy 125 packets of oral re-hydration salts, which could save many lives.

l 50p paid to Oxfam could buy two meals for Peru's poorest people, in a community-run kitchen in Lima.

l £1 paid to Oxfam could provide vegetable seeds to a family in Honduras, so that they are able to improve the family diet.

l £2.05 paid to Oxfam. £2 could buy enough water disinfection tablets to provide 30 people with safe water for a week.

l £4. 10 paid to Oxfam. This could help build a school. For most poor people, education is a priority. They know that if they have even a basic education it is easier to escape from poverty. You could help build a permanent school and educate many generations of poor children. 100 bricks cost £2.

l £7.95 paid to Oxfam. This is could provide clean water for three families. In the Kosovo conflict, in 1999, the Oxfam water container helped to bring safe, clean water to more than 300,000 refugees, in Albania and Macedonia. The specially-designed container has a tight-fitting lid to keep water safe and clean. It is used by Oxfam and other relief agencies around the world. £7.95 could buy containers for three refugee families.

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