All of us at FMC were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of programmer, writer, and activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide on Friday. Swartz was facing prosecution for an incident where he used MIT servers to download a large volume of articles from JSTOR’s database of academic journals; he had also written extensively about his long struggle with depression.
Swartz’s contributions to online culture were numerous and wide-ranging. He was a child prodigy who co-developed RSS and went on to cofound the popular site Reddit. As an activist, Swartz is best known for co-founding Demand Progress and battling against SOPA-PIPA, but his activities extended beyond internet openness to a range of social and economic inequality issues. read more
Digital music biz superstar Ian Rogers recently announced his move to become the CEO of “Daisy” — a new project that’s being built out of streaming subscription service MOG, which was acquired by Beats Electronics in 2012. Beats, is of course, known for its headphones and for being the brainchild of hip-hop legend Dr. Dre and music executive Jimmy Iovine. read more
Happy holidays, FutureBlog readers! If you’re caught up in a last minute rush to find the right gift for the music lover in your life, we suggest making a trip to your local independent bookseller to pick up one of these fine selections:
How Music Works by David Byrne (McSweeneys)read more
Instagram, the popular Facebook-owned photo-sharing service, was faced with a firestorm of controversy on Tuesday with the announcement of proposed new terms of service. The new TOS appeared to allow the service to use user-submitted content for advertising purposes and asked users to “…agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos….in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.” read more
Last week, we launched a series of blog posts that are using Artist Revenue Streams to examine some of the common assumptions about musicians and income.
In part 3, we’re looking at the assumption that, in a post-Napster world, musicians don’t make any money from selling music. As with the other perceptions, there’s a grain of truth in this, based on the simple fact that income from the sales of sound recordings in the traditional sense – sales of physical goods in retail stores – has changed drasticallly in the past ten years. There are fewer retail stores, more online ways to get music for free and, according to the RIAA’s data, a steady decline in the dollar amount of CDs shipped from 2004 to 2010.
During the month of December, as part of our Giving Rocks! year-end campaign, we’re sitting down with a handful of FMC fans to reflect on why they support our work, and what they see as the big issues on the horizon in 2013 and beyond. Read on!
FMC’s newest board member Tamara Saviano is a tireless advocate of American music and its artists. Saviano is a GRAMMY and Americana award winning producer and a music business consultant, artist manager, and publicist who has worked with many acclaimed artists including Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Radney Foster, Gene Watson, Gretchen Peters, Shawn Camp, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ashley Monroe, and Janis Ian. She was honored with a 2004 GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for producing Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster.
A few days ago, we launched a series of blog posts that are using Artist Revenue Streams to examine some of the common assumptions about musicians and income.
In part 2, we’re looking at the assumption that musicians make all of their money from live shows/touring. This is largely based on how the public interacts with musicians. They buy tickets to shows, and they see the size of crowds at concerts. Using basic math, a music fan can estimate how much a concert might be grossing. Coupled with the widely reported decline in album sales and the impact of unauthorized filesharing, seeing bands constantly on tour and even impressive stagecraft, many music fans assume that live performance money is musicians’ bread and butter.
FMC is grateful to have the support of folks from all across the music-tech-policy landscape. As part of our Giving Rocks! year-end campaign, this month we’re sitting down with a handful of FMC fans to reflect on why they support our work, and what they see as the big issues on the horizon in 2013 and beyond. Pour yourself a mug of hot chocolate and read on!
Ben Maitland-Lewis is the CEO of Indie Ambassador, a forward thinking music tech company, dedicated to building tools that make the lives of creative professionals easier and more sustainable. Ben began his career as a performer in the US and Europe before working with the head of A&R at Columbia Records in CA. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music and manage retail marketing initiatives for SonyBMG, helping design award winning campaigns for artists such as Modest Mouse,Bruce Springsteen, My Morning Jacket, and Incubus. In 2004, Ben founded an artist development & management company that went on to release 23 records, a full length rockumentary DVD, and won a couple of Boston Music Awards.
In March of this year, Artist Revenue Streams co-directors Kristin Thomson and Jean Cook participated in a panel at South by Southwest called Brass in Pocket: Accessing More Musician Income. Drawing upon data collected through the Artist Revenue Streams project and the panelists’ personal experience, they talked about a handful common assumptions and myths about how musicians make money.
This week, the ARS team is expanding on the SXSW panel topic through a series of posts.
We’re starting by tackling the assumption that musicians are rich. This is a feeling that is reinforced by shows likeMTV Cribs, by annual lists from outlets like Forbes and Billboard that publish figures about the most well-paid musicians, and even by musicians themselves who reference luxury brands in their lyrics, or embrace high-priced lifestyles. Naturally, the public begins to assume that musicians – especially chart-topping, highly visible ones – are rich, based largely on what they see on stage, read about online, or hear on the radio. And even when the musicians aren’t rich, some embrace the stereotype because it adds to their own brand’s value.
There are some musicians who are doing very well financially (at least in gross earnings), and we applaud their success. But, just like the US population, there are very few at the top. While there are a handful of musicians who are wealthy, the vast majority of working musicians in the US are middle class earners.