LOS ANGELES – The organization best known for bestowing accolades on the music industry at its Grammy Awards (search) will begin airing ads discouraging online music piracy with the awards show's Sunday broadcast.
The Recording Academy (search) hopes the TV and radio spots will drive viewers to a Web site that features artists discussing the impact they say online piracy has on their business.
The downloading and sharing of songs via the Internet is blamed for declines in music sales that have reduced profits for record companies and royalties for artists.
"People still do not realize why it's illegal," Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said.
The television ad, to debut during Sunday night's Grammy broadcast, depicts a teenager downloading a song from the Internet while a crowd dances inside a nightclub.
When the teen completes transferring the song file to her computer, the music and the lights at the club suddenly turn off, leaving clubgoers confused over who pulled the plug on their fun.
The ad closes on the Web address for the organization's information site.
The radio spot asks the listener, "Wouldn't it be great if everything were free? Music's free? Or is it?"
The Recording Academy's campaign comes almost a year after the Recording Industry Association of America, the industry's trade group, announced it would take legal action against people suspected of swapping music online. The RIAA has sued hundreds of people since September.
Portnow declined to say how much the Recording Academy spent on the campaign, which is scheduled to run through the end of the year. He said broadcast stations will run the ads as public service announcements.