The Musicians Union has launched a campaign to persuade broadcasters to make it clear whether a band is playing live or simply pretending, according to Dotmusic.com.
It says viewers should know when singers are miming and musicians are going through the motions to a recorded track.
The concept is being supported by an eclectic group of celebrities and artists including Beverley Knight, Malcolm McLaren and Elton.
It is campaigning for a logo to be flashed up on TV broadcasts to tell viewers whether a performance is totally live, or has recorded or mimed elements. Launching officially next month, it will also call on concert promoters to clarify whether gigs are completely live or not.
The issue has sparked controversy in the past, particularly when Sir Elton accused Madonna of miming onstage, adding: "It applies to all those bloody teenage singers."
Malcolm McLaren, architect and former manager of the Sex Pistols, said he supported the spirit of the campaign.
Singer Beverley Knight said, "What I can't bear are those who are more than capable of delivering a show live with musicians and the whole thing and who don't. Why? Because its easy to do and they get their cheque at the end of the day."
Former Steps vocalist Faye Tozer defended miming, saying: "Our main reason was because you would be up at five o'clock doing kids' TV, straight away into the studio. There's no time for rehearsal."
A poll of a thousand people, conducted by ICM, found 71% of people thought it should be made clear whether an act was totally live or to some extent mimed. The story is being broadcast on the Culture Show on BBC2 at 7 p.m. tonight.