FMC’s Casey Rae-Hunter thinks popular Web-streaming services like Pandora, Rhapsody, LastFM, Mog and Spotify could become more viable due to economies of scale. More users equal more revenue, and possibly lower prices for the service to consumers.
“It seems that consumers have been trained by the Internet to believe that they can get anything they want whenever they want,” he said. “The key is to make sure that the creator is getting paid somewhere.”
A bigger worry for musicians, on top of simply getting paid, is finding a way to deal with medical costs. Nonprofit group the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) recently launched a new online survey on health insurance and musicians, with polling set to close April 1. In a previous survey, held in 2002, 44% of the nearly 2,700 respondents said they did not have health insurance, compared with 14% of the overall population in the 2000 census. Of the 1,368 respondents who did have health insurance, 25% bought it themselves, not through an employer.
There’s already been a lot of talk about what the passage of health-care-reform legislation will mean for “real Americans,” a demographic whose mythical stature is matched only by their ability to inspire talking points.
But what does it mean for “real musicians”â€”namely, those artists and songwriters trying to make a living in a time of unprecedented economic challenge?
Back in September, we took a good, hard look at the health care crisis in the music community. The handy stat back then came from a survey conducted by the Future of Music Coalition in 2002; it was that 44% of working musicians lived without access to adequate health care, because they were either un- or under-insured. In part one of that investigation, we heard stories directly from musicians, and examined the widespread problem also with help from Alex Maiolo, a health insurance specialist who helps musicians navigate the insurance landscape through a free, non-profit, non-partisan program set by the FMC called HINT (Health Insurance Navigation Tool). In part two, we zoomed out a little, and examined the political situation at the time, offering a sort of glossary to help people understand what the power-holders are talking about, again with input from Alex Maiolo and other sources.
FMC has embarked upon a follow-up survey of musicians regarding their health insurance status. Are you a musician? Are any of your friends or family members currently working musicians? If so, you might want to take the survey. The more we know about the situation, the better able we are to address it… So stand up and be counted!
With concert giants Live Nation and AEG based in Los Angeles, there’s little room for an independent promoter to maneuver. Yet Mitchell Frank and his Spaceland Productions have managed to thrive.
Putting on shows under the Spaceland brand since March 1995, Frank hosts concerts at just three Silver Lake and Echo Park venues — Spaceland, the Echo and the Echoplex. That would seem to put Frank below the radar of most major operations, but in the wake of the Department of Justice giving the green light, albeit with concessions, to a merger between promoter/venue owner Live Nation and ticketing agency/management firm Ticketmaster Entertainment, Frank suddenly finds himself in the unenviable position of making money for the competitor.
The Washington, D.C.-based Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit education and advocacy group for musicians, does not have a stance on the merger, but director Michael Bracy is encouraging the industry to be vocal. The Department of Justice is currently receiving comments on the ruling, as it will for close to another 60 days.
“This is an important time to get on the record, particularly for those who feel it didnâ€™t go far enough,” Bracy said. “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.” read more
Net neutrality isn’t just an issue for policy wonks and communications lawyers, and the boys from R.E.M. want the FCC to know just how crucial a neutral ‘Net remains for artists of all stripes. Or, to put it another way: it’s the end of the world as we know it (without network neutrality).
The effort to get bands involved in the process has been an ongoing one for the Future of Music Coalition, which is behind the latest push to have artists weigh in before the comment period closes soon. The Coalition has put together a very nice tool for crafting and submitting comments to the FCC, and it has the great virtue of providing guidance without offering a form letter as an option. read more
The Future of Music Coalition is collecting network neutrality shout-outs from musicians, including R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Dead Presidents, and others on a new Web site.The group has long supported codifying network neutrality principles ( it launched Rock the Net in 2007). The FCC’s Democratic majority is proposing to do just that in a proposed rulemaking launched in October. read more
The Future of Music Coalition is collecting network neutrality shout-outs from musicians, including R.E.M., Pearl Jam and Dead Prez among others, on a new Web site, http://futureofmusic.org/fccopeninternet.
The group has long supported codifying network neutrality principles (it launched Rock the Net in 2007). The FCC’s Democratic majority is proposing to do just that in a proposed rulemaking launched in October.
The Future of Music Coalition has a small boatload of classy crossover music groups sending letters to the Federal Communications Commission in support of tougher net neutrality rules. They include R.E.M., the woodwind quintet Imani Winds, and the Kronos Quartet.
Future of Music has a whole web page dedicated to helping musicians file comments with the agency on the issue. The guide comes complete with the do?s and don?ts of FCC feedback. ?Comments like ?Comcast sux!? may be funny but are not helpful in the FCC crafting better policy, so try to make your critiques productive,? FOM warns. read more
Within the music industry, the health care debate is being watched closely. The lack of access to affordable health insurance has been a persistent problem among artists for decades. According to a Future of Music Coalition poll, 44 percent of musicians go without insurance, almost three times the national average. It’s not that musicians are a singled-out minority, it’s just that so many fall into the cracksâ€”chasms, reallyâ€”in this country’s health care system. According to a 2008 government census, nearly 60 percent of people in this country are insured through an employer; most full-time musicians are essentially self-employed. More than 18 million of the uninsured are between the ages of 18 and 34; so are most aspiring rockers. The vast majority of the uninsured make less than $75,000 a year; ditto for all but the most successful artists. Then there are plenty of artists among the 12.6 million people in this country who are denied coverage based on a preexisting condition. read more