Today, (Oct 15, 2009), the Senate Judiciary Committee passed their version of the Performance Rights Act of 2009 in voice vote. This is an important step in ensuring that performers and sound copyright owners (usually the labels) are compensated when their music is played (or "performed") on over-the-air radio. read more
he music industry is trying to survive and possibly reinvent itself. Artists want to get paid. And consumers want music quickly, with no strings attached. Are all three goals achievable, and if not, who will lose out? Can unfettered access to the Internet co-exist with artists’ desires to get paid for their music? Can the music industry hack its way through a maze of legal obligations and create a new business model that entices fans before they disappear into the digital underground, where music runs wild and free?
These questions dominated the Future of Music Policy Summit in the nation’s capital, an annual gathering of some of the industry’s leading thinkers and innovators, alongside representatives of the music, technology, business and government communities.
A very inspiring organization, the Future of Music Coalition, have released a series of videos that explore new music industry models. The significance of these models is that they take into account how artists need to be compensated, but recognize the need to be relevant in culture. Of all of them, the subscription-based models stick out the most to me. Music consumers are no longer in the mindset of paying for music on a ?per unit? basis. Instead, we have come to expect to get our music for free, immediately, and involve little effort. A subscription service could possibly function within a culture like ours because it mostly matches this criteria. Subscription services, like Rhapsody, ?feel free? because it is an all you can eat buffet ? a once per month, small fee. In turn, a subscription offers the same flexibility and feel of free downloading.
Here at FMC, we tend to think a lot about changing business models for musicians. Certainly, many artists are still making the majority of their money from selling CDs, merch or playing gigs. Yet we’ve come to realize that musicians’ access to potential revenue — especially in today’s digital landscape — expands far beyond that.
Recently, FMC started ponder all this in a more organized fashion: just how many different ways are there for musicians to earn money? We’ve come up with 29 so far, which we list below.
Well, we hope everyone had a nice long weekend (if you got one, that is). We at FMC took a couple of days to unwind from the 2009 Future of Music Policy Summit, which took place from Oct. 4-6 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. If you were there, you know how awesome it was. Hopefully the rest of you were able to catch the live webcast.
But we haven't exactly been slacking since this year's Summit wound down. Our Education Director, Kristin Thomson has been hard at work putting together slides and documents related to the musician-oriented programming from Sunday, Oct. 4. read more
OK, a day or so after my panel at the fantastic Future of Music Policy Summit, and I want to try and toss out a few thoughts.
First off, while I?m typically not real big on conferences, I can enthusiastically recommend this one. The values of the conference and the caliber of speakers/workshops makes this - in my mind - the go-to conference. Get yourself registered for 2010 asap.
So, my panel was entitled New Musician?s Toolbox. I moderated, and the panelists were: Duncan Freeman, founder, Band Metrics; Charlie McEnerney, Host + Producer, Well-Rounded Radio/Musicians for Music 2.0; and Alexis Rodich, Director of Marketing and Partner Relations, BandsinTown. Excellent panelists all, and certainly people/companies committed to adding value. I urge you to check out each of these companies.
I think what really hit me about the conference was that it?s the first time where I felt like the expectations of the attendees wasn?t completely whacked. I?ve been doing these conferences for longer than I care to remember, and, in fact, it was after a conference where I spoke, in which, simply because I had the suffix ?A&R? attached to my name, that my panel was over-crowded with a teeming mass of demo-wielding aspirants attempting to fast track themselves to a record deal, that I decided to write my first book telling people that foisting a demo on a fatigued record label executive in the hopes that this would somehow further your career may not be the very best strategy.
It?s true no one wants to make their own pizza. For a quick lunch, you buy a slice of pizza. For a casual dinner out, you have pizza. For an easy dinner at home, you order pizza.
And yet, more and more for artists the do-it-yourself (DIY) model is touted as the way to go. At the Future of Music Conference this week, there was a fascinating panel dedicated to this topic, among others. I can see why DIY in its most raw form would be appealing to so many people. You have complete control over expression, packaging, marketing, and audience interaction. Musician Erin McKeown, is an avid fan and user of this model. She has produced and reached her fan base with her DIY music videos.
Flash forward 20 years, and it’s harder than ever for artists to make a living selling CDs. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, a speaker at the Future of Music Coalition gave a breakdown of album numbers that will be particularly shocking to young independent bands who hoped they’d be able to make a living selling discs. More than 115,000 new albums were released in the U.S. last year. Of those, 110 sold more than 250,000 copies in the U.S. last year—that’s not such a surprise, as big stars have always been rare. But only 1,500 titles cracked the 10,000 mark, and fewer than 6,000 sold a paltry 1,000 copies.
The Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot is covering the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit but as a preview to his coverage he published some interesting album sales info that he received.
In 2008 more than 115,000 albums were released, but only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies, a mere 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 cracked the 1,000 barrier. He doesn’t say so in the article but rather in the comments section that these are based on SoundScan numbers, so it is assumed they are primarily dealing with physical albums sales and not digital.
The Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit got rolling Sunday, an annual meeting of musicians, tech-heads, artist managers, academics and music-biz entrepreneurs. The summit?s forward-looking approach is all about making the best of the new reality created by Internet technology and how that might be affected by government policy decisions.