Celebrated opera star Placido Domingo has been named as chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a worldwide organization that has taken a stand against the rise in pirated music online.
Domingo joins advocates in the industry, like the aforementioned metal band (who sued Napster, back in the day) and British singer Lily Allen, who have strongly opposed the actions of downloaders.
"Today, the world of music and in fact most of the arts is undergoing enormous changes and challenges," Domingo said in the press release. "Technology, which on one hand allows artists to reach many more than ever before, has led to a debate about how to find a way to protect the intellectual property rights of artists, creators and all those living and working in the world of music."
For many non-opera fans, Domingo is perhaps most famous for his membership in the operatic supergroup The Three Tenors, along with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras. The group's first album became the best-selling classical music album of all time. Still, Domingo has said that even he has seen the effects of digital piracy firsthand.
“I was seeing my own royalties diminishing little by little,” Domingo said at a press conference announcing the appointment, according to Bloomberg. “At first, I thought it was logical. Old records sell less well over time. Then I stopped receiving any royalties at all, and I knew there was a problem. On my own, I couldn’t do anything. So when the IFPI asked me to help them, I immediately said yes.”
Domingo's advocacy comes at a time when the music industry continues to struggle through declining sales, and as the rise of services like Spotify lure consumers who have gotten out of the habit of buying albums.
Eleven years ago, Domingo, in an interview with Carreras and Pavarotti, told the L.A. Times of a different gripe he had with the recording industry.
"We expected the public to like it, but we never expected the recording company to sell 11 million records and we got nothing," he said then. "The second time around, we said we have to get some money."