Hey people! Casey Rae here. Well, it’s that time of year again. And I’m not talking about “pumpkin spice” in everything. I’m talking about the 14th Future of Music Policy Summit, which takes place on Oct. 27-28 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
This year’s event is jam-packed with awesomeness, with musicians, policymakers, innovators and visionaries rubbing elbows and grappling with the issues that impact the entire music community. We do staff picks every year, but Summit 2014 presents a huge challenge in terms of narrowing things down. My advice is to reserve your spot now for the whole enchilada—musician scholarships are available!
Here’s what I’m the most excited to experience at Summit 2014 (and this is nowhere near the full schedule):
In Conversation: On Activism and Art
Monday, Oct. 27 10:55 AM – 11:35AM
This conversation is going to be so awesome that we don’t even have a description for it. That’s not because we’re slacking—it’s just that we know any chat including such dedicated and passionate musician/activists will be more inspiring than anything we could put into words.
Ceci Bastida Musician
Felix Contreras Co-host, Alt.Latino, NPR (moderator)
Shawn King Musician, DeVotchKa
Martín Perna Musician, Antibalas and Ocote Soul Sounds
“Whose Transparency is it Anyway?”
Monday, Oct. 27 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
The word “transparency” has become a music industry invocation: if you say it enough, no one can accuse you of a lack of it. But what does it actually mean? Musicians often call for transparency in accounting and royalty distribution. Indie labels want more information about negotiations they aren’t a part of. Songwriters worry about the lack of transparency in direct deals between publishers and platforms. Music services want transparency about what catalog they can or cannot use. Globally, there are issues around “black boxes” and unattributed income that never makes it back to creators. Is there a common definition or set of principles that could be adopted to advance the goal of transparency? Who makes the call about what information is made available? How can technology and better data management lessen the burden of music industry middlemen while keeping them accountable to artists? This panel will explore issues around timely and accurate dissemination with an eye towards a less opaque industry.
Jeffrey Boxer IED/GC, Content Creators Coalition
Tanya Marie Curcio Associate, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and PeaseLLP
Dave Herlihy Attorney, The Law Offices of David Herlihy; Professor, Northeastern University (moderator)
Peter Jenner Manager, Sincere Management
Tom Silverman Executive Director, New Music Seminar
Darius Van Arman Co-founder, Secretly Group
On Atomic Living: Kiran Gandhi
3:35 PM - 4:00 PM
Kiran is a force of nature. She plays drums and tours internationally with M.I.A., has done a stint at Interscope Records as the company’s first digital analyst, is a Harvard MBA candidate and a committed activist. Most exciting is her committment to a more diverse and inclusive music industry built on an ethos of collaboration and engagement. Kiran’s talks on “atomic living” embody her willingness to experience life and the pursuit of knowledge wherever opportunities arise. She’ll be joined in conversation with one of our favorite rising legal stars, Michelle Davis—a former Flagpole music editor and FMC intern who in her “spare time” works to expand the knowledge base of musicians in her hometown of Athens, Georgia. These two young leaders possess intellectual curiosity and a desire to affect postive change through music. That’s our kind of future.
Kiran Gandhi Drummer/Percussionist; MBA Candidate, Harvard Business School
Michelle Davis Senior Articles Editor, Journal of Intellectual Property, University of Georgia School of Law
The Legal Geniuses Panel
Tuesday, Oct. 28 10:10 AM – 11:10AM
2014 has seen a litany of copyright developments that will have a profound impact on the entertainment industry. Major issues as diverse as the nature of authorship, content distribution and pre-1972 sound recordings are just some of the topics that are being tackled by the courts or pondered by policymakers. The coming year should see clarification on a number of these matters, including the ability for musicians and songwriters to reclaim their copyrights. But there’s always the possibility of greater confusion, which our panel of some of America’s premier entertainment attorneys will endeavor to sort out before your very eyes.
Jill Berliner Partner, King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner LLP
Ashlye Keaton Attorney, Entertainment Law Legal Assistance (ELLA) Project; Adjunct Professor, Tulane University School of Law and University of New Orleans
Paul LiCalsi Partner, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP
Walter McDonough Co-founder and General Counsel, Future of Music Coalition (moderator)
Janine Small Principal, Janine Small PLLC
Mash of the Titans: The Push for Monopoly in Music and Media
Spotlight Session, Tuesday, Oct. 28 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Monopoly is back, like a lame song that’s stuck in your head. The impacts of corporate consolidation are rippling through many different sectors, including the music and entertainment industries. Competition policy and antitrust law are tough to wrap our heads around, but if we’re interested in a future built on access and entrepreneurship we need to figure out a way to talk about it. How does a tendency towards monopoly create economic, expressive and civic inequalities? What does the “vertical integration” of large media companies, Internet Service Providers and telecommunications giants mean for the future of music and media? What do independent artists, innovators and the public need to know about these pernicious power plays? Barry C. Lynn is director of the Open Markets program at the New America Foundation and the author of two books, End of the Lineand Cornered, the latter of which describes the dramatic return of monopoly to the American landscape. Both books and Lynn’s periodic articles in Harper’s Magazine describe the concentration of economic power across a range of industries. Salon.com columnist Thomas Frank is a political analyst, historian, and journalist whose books include The Conquest of Cool, One Market Under God and What’s the Matter With Kansas. Join them for a special conversation about a topic that will no doubt impact how you go about your own lives and careers.
Barry Lynn Director, Open Markets Program, New America Foundation
Thomas Frank Columnist, Salon.com; Author, Pity the Billionaire and others
Stopping Cable (and Telecomm) F*ckery
Tuesday, Oct. 28 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
2014 has seen the “net neutrality” debate reach a fever pitch. Musicians, indie labels, entrepreneurs, cultural organizations, arts nonprofits and more have joined millions of Americans in urging the FCC to preserve an open and accessible Internet. Political satirist John Oliver memorably coined it a movement to “stop cable f*ckery” in an episode of “Last Week Tonight.” But what does this f*ckery entail? Is it data caps on apps, except those pre-selected by your Internet Service Providers? Is it digital payola, where the richest companies enjoy an online Autobahn and everyone else gets a dirt road? Is it the fact that many Americans pay hundreds of dollars a month to their ISPs only to receive speeds well below those advertised? Is it the cable companies rewriting local laws to prevent competition in the broadband marketplace? How does all this impact music communities and creators around the country? What are artists and advocates doing to push back? Our panel of experts and agitators will explore these issues and more in an ongoing effort to put an end to cable and telecom f*ckery.
Jodie Griffin Senior Staff Attorney, Public Knowledge
Sarah Morris Senior Policy Counsel, Open Technology Institute, New America Foundation
Carla Murphy Reporter, Colorlines.com
Casey Rae VP for Policy and Education, Future of Music Coalition (moderator)
Joe Torres Senior External Affairs Director, Free Press