Rapper rapped over street sales

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A Preston rapper has lost a landmark battle to sell his own music on city streets.

Musician Elavi Dowie, 31, must pay an 80 fine and 220 costs for selling his CDs in a shopping street in Manchester.

Manchester Council prosecuted the rapper, who plays guitar, bass and keyboard, after he was spotted peddling CDs in Market Street for several hours at a time.

The road is prohibited to street traders but a peddlers' certificate, issued by the police and costing around 12.50, allows a trader to sell goods providing they do not remain at a fixed location.

The council said CCTV footage recorded Dowie remaining on his patch for several hours in June, and for 35 minutes in October.

Dowie, a University of Central Lancashire music and multimedia graduate, was found guilty of two counts of trading on a prohibited street during a two-day hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court.

Today Dowie, whose album Soul Science is sold on music websites and at 15 HMV stores, vowed to the Evening Post he would carry on selling his music on the streets.

The father-of-one, from Cardigan Street, Ashton, said: "I'm going to carry on – it's a real powerful way of getting your music out.

"Selling on the streets has enabled me to get my music onto websites and sold in HMV as well as make videos for my music.

"Because of the way the music industry is at the moment, especially for urban music. People are selling their music on the streets in the absence of a record deal. We aren't harming anyone.

"The council has this initiative to promote black and ethnic minority music but on the other hand are trying to destroy someone like me."

Dowie started off selling his music in Preston – following in the footsteps of US hip-hop heroes Jay-Z and Nas who also started by peddling their tunes on street corners.

Dowie, who represented himself in court, claimed a clause in the legislation put him in the same category as newspaper vendors who are exempt from street trading laws.

He claimed his CDs were free but that he was selling the disc sleeves – but the district judge did not accept this.

Various councils throughout the country are pursuing a private Bill through Parliament, aimed at cracking down on illegal street traders.

Coun Jim Battle, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: "If we had the powers granted under this Bill we could have seized the items Dowie was selling."

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