Yesterday, a California federal court ruled against Sirius XM in a lawsuit brought by Flo & Eddie of 60’s hitmakers The Turtles regarding the satellite radio company’s failure to pay royalties for the use of recordings made before February 15, 1972.read more
In some ways, I’m the perfect target for U2’s big new release partnership with Apple. U2 was my favorite band all through junior high and high school. I dutifully collected all their singles, and I still have my ticket stub and sweatshirt from the 1998 Popmart tour. Yet my interests drifted elsewhere as I got older; I’m part of the reason their last record sold relatively poorly, as I still haven’t heard it. Theoretically, a free copy of Songs of Innocence might rekindle my fandom.
But: it’s complicated. U2’s avowed commitments to social justice were a big part of what got me interested in activism and policy at a young age. It feels a bit jarring now to see the band whose liner notes got thirteen-year old me to join Amnesty International so closely associated with a company that’s facing protests both for inhumane factory conditions abroad and low contractor wages domestically.
The ambivalence doesn’t stop there. The Apple/U2/Universal Music Group partnership has also prompted some unexpected backlash. Still, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been successful on the most basic levels; the band was reportedly well paid (over $100 million in marketing, plus a flat royalty fee), at least 36 million people have accessed the music, the new iPhone has set new sales records and everyone’s still talking about U2 and Apple two weeks later. Including our own Casey Rae, who joined Chris Richards of the Washington Post and Catherine Mayer of TIME Magazine—both of whom have recently written about U2—on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Sept. 23. (Listen to the archived broadcast).
You may be feeling some U2 fatigue, but we think there’s still a need to ask deeper questions about what this deal means, and what it doesn’t.
If you have ever been to any big city like New York, Paris or London, you will know what it means to be surrounded by art and culture every hour of the day. These cities pride themselves on being hubs for creativity and cultural exchange, filled with art venues both historic and modern. It is no surprise then that these cities have also become centers for global tourism, forever attracting new generations looking for opportunities to participate.
It’s also not surprising that investment in the arts has become a strategy employed by local governments as part of a broader economic recovery agenda. But rather than supporting only large institutions such as ballets and symphonies, some are now turning to genres that historically haven’t received much government support.
While last week’s internet slowdown protest brought Net Neutrality to the headlines, resulting in the most comments to the FCC on any topic ever, this week is going to be equally busy and important for defenders of the open internet. For those who need a refresher, net neutrality is the principle that all legitimate web traffic should be treated equally by internet service providers; it’s fundamental to how the internet can function as a democratic platform where all voices can be heard, and especially important for independent musicians and labels. Read on for the full details!
Today, you may have noticed that a whole bunch of your favorite websites (us included!) are participating in a symbolic “Internet Slowdown.” This day of action brings together a very diverse group of companies, organizations, and individuals to stand up for real net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that all legitimate web traffic should be treated equally by internet service providers; it’s fundamental to how the internet can function as a democratic platform where all voices can be heard.
An overdose death or a major security incident is any concert promoter’s nightmare, marring what should be a joyous communal event. But one major festival is choosing an unusual way to respond to tragedy: essentially blaming teenagers for their security issues and banning anyone under 18 from attending their event.
About 60,000 people annually attend each day of the Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami every March; at this year’s event a security guard was trampled by gatecrashers, and a 21-year old man died of an accidental overdose, the second such incident in the event’s 16 year history. Organizers announced this week that no one under 18 would be allowed at the 2015 festival, saying in a statement “This decision has been made to reinforce and promote the safety of all Ultra Music Festival fans and to ensure the overall enjoyment of all future attendees.”
Last Thursday, the White House announced the long-awaited nomination for the position of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). The candidate is Danny Marti, a Washington-based IP lawyer, and pending confirmation by the Senate, Marti will step into the post which has been vacant for just over a year.
The IPEC position is sometimes colloquially called a “piracy czar,” and indeed the problem of unauthorized media downloads and streams will likely be on his list of priorities, and potentially of the greatest relevance to the music community. However his responsibilities will also extend to coordinating U.S. law-enforcement strategy around patents and trademarks, as well as copyright—both domestically and in partnership with international law enforcement.
Hailed as a new step towards a more open, responsive government, The White House’s petition site is in the news again as a key reason for the passage of a bill legalizing cell phone unlocking, signed into law this month. However, as a recent Time Magazine article points out, a handful of popular petitions are still awaiting a White House response despite having surpassed the 100,000 signatures mark, which was supposed to trigger an official reply. Among the petitions crossing this threshold were two that caught our attention: “Stop SOPA 2013” and “Stop SOPA 2014.”
Oddly, the Time article doesn’t mention that the White House already responded thoughtfuly and extensively to a petition about SOPA back in 2012. But much more disconcerting than the lack of official response to the new petitions is the fact that so many people have signed petitions expressing fierce opposition to legislation that they don’t seem to know doesn’t actually exist.
Creators gotta stick together. That’s why Future of Music Coalition is proud to join Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the proposed merger between cable and internet behemoth Comcast and the slightly smaller behemoth Time Warner Cable (TWC).
We probably don’t have to tell you that both companies routinely win the top (dis)honor for worst customer service. What might be new information is how much control Comcast already has over what you see and hear. If the company is permitted to acquire TWC, they’ll possess unparalleled power over the future for music and video.
Our joint petition to deny the merger, filed before the FCC on August 25, 2014, makes the case that a combined company would reduce opportunities for creators of all kinds—including the folks that write for television and movies, as well as musicians and composers.
By Griffin Davis, Communications Intern & Kevin Erickson, Communications Associate
A diverse array of musicians and a wide range of prominent arts and culture organizationshave already stood up in support of real net neutrality. If you’re interested in adding your voice to the chorus, here’s some good news: you now have a little extra time.
That’s because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced an extension to its deadline for public comments. Last month, as the initial period for comments was coming to a close, the volume of comments was so intense—by far the most responses to an FCC rulemaking docket ever, as Craig Aaron of Free Press points out—that the FCC servers crashed repeatedly, and the agency was forced to extend the deadline by several days.
Now, because they want to give as much time for the next phase of the process as was originally promised, they’ve extended the reply comments period as well, until Monday, September 15. Here’s what you need to know.