The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which fights music piracy, has announced the launch of the Arabian Music Academy (AMA) in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.
The federation's Middle East North Africa Committee said on Wednesday the Dubai-government endorsed academy would also have offices in Beirut and Cairo and "recognise the accomplishments of Arab artistes who have made exceptional contributions to music in the Arab world".
It would campaign on issues affecting the Arab music community and consumers, such as labelling, legislation, protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), home taping, piracy, archive and preservation issues, artistic exchange programmes and censorship.
"The AMA was born out of the need to promote and protect the rights of the Arab music industry, through a planned campaign," said Shuckri Bundukji, chairman of the IFPI's regional committee.
"We have planned several activities including the Arabian Music Regional Conference and the first ever Arabian Music Awards, which is scheduled for 15 May 2004 in Dubai.
"The music awards will be based on listeners' votes, and not on sales figures or chart positions, and will recognise artistic and/or technical achievements.
"The awards will be an annual event and aim at recognising excellence and creating greater public awareness of the cultural diversity and contributions of Arab recording artists," he said.
The London-based IFPI boasts a membership of more than 1500 record producers and distributors in 76 countries.