R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Boots Riley of The Coup, Ted Leo, Death Cab for Cutie, OK Go, the Kronos Quartet, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Calexico, The Donnas, Kathleen Hanna and many other musicians and independent record labels have joined Rock the Net, a nationwide campaign to recruit thousands of artists to support the fight for net neutrality. http://rockthenet.futureofmusic.org
Three years ago, 4,000 musicians signed an FMC letter opposing radio consolidation. With Rock the Net, we intend to get thousands of musicians, independent labels and music services to become part of the effort to keep a ‘payola’ system from being established on the Internet.
Join Rock the Net today! http://rockthenet.futureofmusic.org
At the Rock the Net website you can sign on to the campaign, then add your upcoming shows to the Rock the Net database, which will display on our interactive map cataloging events around the country. You can also invite other bands to join, sign a petition and send a letter to Congress. Our goal is to demonstrate the music community’s nationwide support for the principle of net neutrality.
We’re holding a Rock the Net kick-off press conference just before Ted Leo’s March 29 show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. If you’re at the show, be sure to stop by and say hello! FMC is organizing Rock the Net with Noise Pop and Zeitgeist Artist Management.
R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Boots Riley of The Coup, Ted Leo to join launch of major nationwide campaign for net neutrality
FMC press release, March 23, 2007
FCC to Examine Network Neutrality
Rock the Net has the chance to have a real impact on policy. Late last week - on March 22 - the FCC announced that it would open a Notice of Inquiry on broadband industry practices, including the principle of network neutrality. While all five commissioners agreed to the NOI, Copps and Adelstein both noted that this course of action was too tepid for their liking.
"I want an FCC that unconditionally states its preference for nondiscrimination on the Internet," Copps said.
We want to quote Copps at length below because his statements are so strong that it just makes you want to grab a bullhorn and march right next to him:
"We should be building on what we have already approved and going with at least a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with a commitment to move to an Order within a time certain. These are not esoteric, inside-the-Beltway issues - they go to the very core of what kinds of opportunities are going to be available to all of us in this digital age. We’re being left behind in broadband globally, the country is paying a steep cost, and we face the stark challenge to decide if we are going to do something about it or not. We’re talking here about the greatest small "d" democratic technology platform that has ever existed. Taking another year or two to decide if we want to keep it that way shortchanges the technology, shortchanges consumers and shortchanges our future. I will not dissent from the one small step forward we take today, but I do lament our not making a Neil Armstrong giant leap for mankind."
We applaud Commissioners Copps and Adelstein for their understanding of and their commitment to the principle of net neutrality. Let’s all work together and show that the music community supports it as well. Rock the net. http://rockthenet.futureofmusic.org
FCC to Examine Future of Internet Access
Reuters, March 22, 2007
FCC Takes (Passive) Aggressive Action on Net Neutrality
Public Knowledge, March 22, 2007
Statements from FCC Commissioners on NOI on Broadband Industry Practices:
As we expected, action on issues at the intersection of music, law, technology and policy has reached a fever pitch.
In February, Steve Jobs’ open letter calling for an end to DRM kicked off a passionate, high-level debate about whether digital rights management on music is necessary. Meanwhile, European countries continue to challenge Apple on the lack of iTunes and iPod interoperability with other devices. Stateside, legislation has been introduced to amend Section 115 of the Copyright Act, which would drastically change how music is licensed on the digital platform.
Satellite and internet radio issues have been particularly hot. XM Radio has been sued by the RIAA and, most recently, the music publishers over its portable music player, both suits charging that the company is not licensed to allow its subscribers to download music. Legislators have also re-introduced the PERFORM Act, which would require a digital broadcast flag intended to stop listeners from downloading specific songs from satellite radio or webcast stations. Most recently, small webcasters have filed for a re-hearing of the Copyright Royalty Board’s royalty rates, all while XM and Sirius work on their proposed merger.
With so many burning issues, FMC is organizing a one-day event that will allow for a robust but balanced discussion of the music/technology issues that are emerging in the courts, Congress and at the Copyright Office.
FMC is collaborating with the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) on programming this event, which will be held at the Center for American Progress at 1333 H Street NW, Washington, DC. ACS is one of the nation’s leading progressive legal organizations, with student and lawyer chapters all across the country, and hosts programs and projects at both the national and local level.
Programming, keynotes, and conversations will include panel discussions on emerging issues like:
Register online today for just $25. Space is limited:
As with all our events, we offer a limited number of scholarships for working musicians to attend the event for free. Apply for a scholarship here:
More details will be up on the website as the program develops. We hope to see you there!
All of us here at FMC love our internet radio stations, where we can listen to the new and popular, the obscure and old, and everything in between.
That’s why we were troubled by the Copyright Royalty Board announcement of higher royalty rates for small webcasters. If the financial impact is as severe as stated by some small webcasters, these new rates could mean less music and more advertising or, even worse, stations going off the air altogether because they can’t afford to pay the new rates.
We fully support the digital performance royalty, which are the royalties paid by webcasters and satellite radio to SoundExchange, which then pays them to performers and sound recording copyright owners (usually the record label). However, we also believe that this "one size fits all" approach to webcasting rate calculation can be harmful to the small and non-commercial webcasters. Online radio and webcasting as a medium can’t develop if the small, non-commercial and hobby webcasters are saddled with the same rates and reporting requirements as the large commercial webcasters that can afford to pay.
For the good of the listeners and artists, FMC hopes that the webcasters and SoundExchange can work together to strike a balance that recognizes the value of webcasting to creators and listeners, but also properly compensates artists, performers and labels for uses of their work.
You can read our full statement here:
Feds to rehear Webcaster fee dispute
Anne Broache, CNET, March 20, 2007
SoundExchange’s John Simson on the CRB Webcaster Rate Ruling
Brian Zisk, Royalty Week, March 19, 2007
SoundExchange Defends Internet Radio Royalty Rates
Digital Music News, March 22, 2007
The Fate of Indie Music as we Know It
Paul F. Roberts, Salon.com, March 20, 2007
Increased Streaming Radio Rates Face Stepped-Up Backlash
Digital Music News, March 19, 2007
NPR Protests Webcaster Fee Hikes
Anne Broache, CNET, March 19, 2007
Royalty Hikes Panic Webcasters
Eliot Van Buskirk, Wired.com, March 6, 2007
On March 5, 2007, the FCC released the details of an agreement they had struck with the major radio broadcasters regarding payola.
This was a long time coming. FMC has been following the payola scandals for years, starting with our increased awareness of the "indie promoter" system, which luckily also reached the ears of former NY attorney general Eliot Spitzer. An aggressive prosecutor, Spitzer’s crack team of attorneys used the subpoena power of his office to unearth thousands of pages of evidence that showed that payola was a pervasive practice in the radio industry. Throughout 2005 and 2006, Spitzer collected millions of dollars in settlements with all the major labels. He also urged the FCC to use his compiled evidence to take action against the broadcasters that were engaging in this illegal practice.
After nearly two years of consistent pressure from musician advocacy groups and the public, the FCC finally brokered an agreement with the broadcasters. In addition to a $12.5 million fine, the broadcasters accepted "Rules of Engagement" which outline how radio companies and record companies and artists should interact.
You can read the rules here: http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=363937
The agreement also includes an "Independent Music Content Commitment" that equates to 8,400 half-hour blocks of airtime dedicated to independent label or unsigned artist music.
FMC was very active on this issue behind the scenes, working with both the FCC and A2IM on crafting acceptable language. We feel confident that this is the strongest deal that we could get from this current Commission, which is one that has been avoiding taking any action on payola. It is important to stress that this is not the "end" of the payola issue, but rather an important step in the effort to ensure that local and independent artists have a legitimate opportunity to receive commercial airplay.
Read our full press release here:
FCC, Broadcasters Agree to Anti-Payola Guidelines
Eliot Van Buskirk, Wired.com, March 5, 2007|
Radio Dials FCC Deal
William Triplett, Variety, March 5, 2007
Payola pact could boost airplay for indie music
Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2007
Gimme "Indie" Rock
Chris Parker, Village Voice, March 13, 2007
Chicago’s Outside The Loop Radio interviews Michael Bracy on the Recent Payola Settlement
Mike Stephen & Andy Hermann, Outside the Loop Radio, March 16, 2007
We’re thrilled to introduce you all to Justin Jouvenal, FMC’s first Communications Director. Justin comes to us from the world of journalism. While on the west coat, he covered San Francisco City Hall, the U.S. Congress and the California state legislature for the SF Bay Guardian, the Oakland Tribune and the LA Times Magazine, writing numerous stories that exposed abuses of power and corruption by government officials. He’s only been on the job for two weeks but already doing a spectacular job spreading the word about our pile of projects. Welcome, Justin!
To learn a bit more about Justin:
justin [at] futureofmusic [dot] org
Earlier in March, FMC’s Jenny Toomey, Kristin Thomson and Walter McDonough headed north for Canadian Music Week in Toronto. Besides moderating panels on new business models and copyright issues, we saw many folks that we’d first met at our Policy Summit in Montreal in October 2006.
The following week, Michael Bracy, Walter McDonough and Brian Zisk headed to Austin for the annual SXSW conference. In addition to hearing lots of great music, they also appeared on panels addressing the global marketplace, how to take advantage of digital opportunities, and business models for digital music.
FMC’s HINT project coordinator Alex Maiolo was also in Austin, meeting with dozens of musicians, managers and labels folks to discuss health insurance options for musicians. Alex will be traveling to more conferences this year including Tape Op, Bumbershoot, FMC’s Policy Summit, where he’s eager to meet in person with anyone who has questions about health insurance. If you’ll be attending any of these events, or want to invite Alex to another conference, email him at hint [at] futureofmusic [dot] org.
But also remember that you don’t need to wait until then: visit HINT’s web portal at
http://www.futureofmusic.org/hint/ to learn more about health insurance for musicians or to make a telephone appointment with our HINT consultants, all at no charge.
You asked for a blog - and we’re thrilled to announce that we have one now!
It’s still in its infancy, but once it’s up and running we want our blog not only to educate you on a daily basis on all the music and technology issues, but also to give you a fresh take on the news, to amuse you, and to inspire you to learn more. If you have suggestions on how we can make our blog better, please send your suggestions along to suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org.
You can access FMC’s blog here: http://www.futureofmusiccoalition.blogspot.com/
Or you can add the FMC blog to your RSS aggregator:
Ain’t it Strange?
Legendary art-rocker Patti Smith muses about her recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Patti Smith op-ed, New York Times, March 12, 2007
Turtles on YouTube
Members of 1960’s band The Turtles use a hilarious whiteboard flowchart to show their chain of managers and lawsuits from 1966-1974.
XM, Sirius Start FCC Merger Paperwork, Licensing Questions Remain
Digital Music News, March 21, 2007
Publishers Sue XM Satellite Radio
In other news, publishers file a suit similar to the RIAA suit of 2006, charging that XM’s MP3-like player acts as a recorder rather than as a radio
Susan Butler, Billboard, March 22, 2007
Sales of Music, Long in Decline, Plunge Sharply
Traditional retail sales are down 20% for this year.
Ethan Smith, Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2007
The Album, a Commodity in Disfavor
The music industry struggles to cope with the transition from an album-oriented to a singles-oriented culture.
Jeff Leeds, New York Times, March 26, 2007
Preserving the Past
Governments, others wonder how to prepare for future in archiving
Russ Corey, Times Daily, March 19, 2007
Would an XM-Sirius merger be so bad for radio? The answer may not be as clearcut as you think.
By James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, March 19, 2007
Too Perfect Harmony: How Technology Fostered, and Detected, a Pianist’s Alleged Plagiarism
Classical pianist Joyce Hatto is accused of plagiarism posthumously when technologies show that her performances match those of another pianist too closely.
By Mike Musgrove, Washington Post, February 22, 2007
Perhaps the Coolest Moment in the History of Congress and Why It Matters
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) name checks DJ Drama and Girl Talk during congressional hearing on satellite radio.
463 Blog, March 11, 2007
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