Manic Street Preachers have responded to their fans who were thrown off Napster for downloading material from the band's new album 'Know Your Enemy'. Pressure from disgruntled fans has been mounting on the band since Napster users who had been downloading MP3 files of songs from the Manics' new album had their accounts blocked earlier this week.
Following the ban, initiated by their label Sony Music, fans have deluged NME.COM with e-mails, urging the Manics to intervene.
Today (February 9), a UK spokesperson for the band distanced the Manics from the ban. She said: "We want to make it clear that the Manic Street Preachers don't agree with what happened. I also realise it is Sony policy for all of their artists to protect copyright.
"As far as the band are aware, no further action will be taken against Napster users, something which people had expressed concern about."
A statement has also been issued by Sony, which says they are doing "nothing unusual" in trying to protect its repertoire from being distributed freely.
It continues: "If we spotted thousands of counterfeit albums being given away at a car boot sale, free of charge, no-one would think it weird that we would try to stop that activity. The only difference with Napster is that it's electronic.
"We are concerned with ensuring that Manics fans get to hear music at the highest quality - Napster can't guarantee that, whereas CDs can. We are also concerned with making sure artists get financially rewarded for their hard work and creative talents.
"This action by Sony Music UK is not unusual, but similar protective initiatives with other major Sony Music artists seem to have gone unnoticed. Sony Music is not under any circumstances trying to discriminate against Manics fans. We're merely taking care both creatively and legally, of the band's recorded output."
Speaking previously about the issue, bassist Nicky Wire said: "All I say is if people have found the tracks it's all well and good, but the idea that Napster is a wonderful company and does great things is just rubbish, because they are just another...form of American capitalism. They are not a charity, they are a company, and they'll end up wanting to make money and sell shares. I'm all for free access to everything but I don't think people should kid themselves that Napster is like Oxfam.
"It's alright for me to say it's great being on Napster because we are on our sixth album and we haven't got to worry about the money. But if I was a young band and people we downloading my tracks for free and I was living in a shithole somewhere then I'd be pretty annoyed about it. I think we can be a bit flippant about it because we've established ourselves - I think there's two sides to it."