NEW YORK (FREE FIONA Press Release/ www.freefiona.com) - In protest, thousands of Fiona Apple
fans from around the world to mail apples to Sony Music
headquarters in New York City, as a symbol of their support for the singer. Fiona Apple's third album, "Extraordinary Machine," has been complete since May of 2003, but Sony/BMG Music
has decided not to release it to the public because it lacks, in the words of producer Jon Brion, "an obvious single." The campaign, "Free Fiona" (www.freefiona.com
) calls for the mailing of thousands of apples (plastic and real) to Andrew Lack, CEO of Sony Music, at his office in New York City.
Fans as far away as New Zealand and Siberia are participating in the campaign.
Apple's "Tidal" (1996) and "When the Pawn..." (2000), both certified Platinum by the RIAA, but her third album, "Extraordinary Machine," was deemed too experimental for audiences and consequently will not be released.
The campaign, less than two weeks old, has already receieved attention from MTV News and Corriere Della Sera (Italy's national daily newspaper) among others.
Andrew Lack, ex-president of NBC, replaced long-time Sony Music CEO Tommy Mattola in an effort to pull the company from its recent revenue slump. In the age of illegal digital downloading, CD sales have dropped sharply, and Lack was the answer. But Lack has no prior music industry experience, and the result was a shift in company focus to pop and hip-hop artists that are traditionally better sellers, a move no doubt with the bottom line in mind.
While Sony shareholders are no longer sweating, Fiona Apple fans are fuming. "Sony has a responsibility to their shareholders, but they also have a very important responsibility to the art of music itself," says Dave Muscato, founder of FreeFiona.com. "They should focus on the real problem - file sharing - and not some short-sighted and very harmful way to raise profits."
Muscato, a musician from Missouri USA, understands the sacrifices involved in producing art in favor of money, and his own band is active in the fight against illegal file sharing. But according to Muscato, "the major labels have a very real advantage over indies in industry influence and distribution power, but Sony and the other majors are abusing that power. It's not right, and they know it. And sooner or later, they're going to pay for it in sales. People are tired of being force-fed pop music."
Although Sony/BMG Music is a subsidiary of Sony, Inc, many fans are boycotting all Sony products until a release date has been announced.
As one fan, Andrew Serduletz, stated on the official Free Fiona petition, "I hope Sony comes to their senses and realizes that one of the biggest reasons people aren't buying as many records is that most of the music being sold these days is pitiful. It's about time record companies start releasing and promoting the records of artists that are actually talented and creative. It just might catch on."
The website, freefiona.com, has had hundreds of thousands of visits since it went active two weeks ago. The petition is available there, as well as updates and a discussion forum about the campaign for fans.