Hi! I’m Ann Chaitovitz and am FMC’s new Executive Director. I am thrilled and honored to be here. I’m a longtime supporter of FMC and have participated in every Policy Summit. Since day one, I’ve been impressed with the work FMC has done to ensure that musicians’ voices are represented in policy and new media debates. Jenny Toomey leaves behind some big shoes to fill, but I’m hoping that with your help, we will continue to take on many of the contentious issues surrounding fair artist compensation and media access.
For those of you that don’t know me, I have worked with FMC for years and have served on its advisory board since its inception. I’ve long been an artist advocate and have worked as a copyright expert at the USPTO, worked at AFTRA on behalf of recording artists and also worked on behalf of songwriters and publishers at ASCAP.
If we all work together, I am confident we can ensure the future brings a healthy music industry, where citizens can access more music in more ways and where artists are fairly compensated.
Last month we told you about OK Go and Bonerama’s rockin’ January 11 performance at legendary New Orleans venue, Tipitina’s. That show raised over $6,000 for Big Easy R&B hero Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Sweet Home New Orleans — an organization that works to bring back the city’s displaced musicians.
OK Go and Bonerama originally hooked up at an Artist Activism Camp that FMC and Air Traffic Control organized in spring 2007. The bands had such a good time playing together that they later recorded a collaborative EP to benefit Al and Sweet Home New Orleans. The 5-song mini-album, You’re Not Alone, was released via iTunes on February 5 — also known as Mardi Gras! Trust us when we say it’s awesome. All proceeds from the sale of the EP will go to the beneficiaries.
To celebrate the EP’s release, OK Go and Bonerama played a sold-out show at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club on February 2, which netted another $8,000 for New Orleans’ musicians. If you weren’t there, you definitely missed a good time. But that’s just all the more reason to buy the EP. And if you visit our Flickr page with photos from the concert, it’ll almost be like you were there.
Check out some press for the EP and concert:
Washington Post Express, January 31, 2008
Musicians Giving Back At New Orleans Benefits
Billboard, January 3, 2008
We mentioned it in the last newsletter, but it certainly bears repeating: On Monday, February 25, FMC co-founder and Technologies Director Brian Zisk is hosting the SanFran MusicTech Summit. The event, which takes place at San Francisco’s Hotel Kabuki, will bring together brainy types in the music-tech-development space, as well as musicians, entrepreneurs, businesspeople and other groups involved with technology and culture. Speakers include representatives from such companies as Yahoo, YouTube, MusicIP, Pandora, Jambase, and SomaFM and many more.
FMC recently chatted with Brian about issues pertaining to music and technology, and what to expect at his conference. Check out an MP3 of the conversation here.
For more info on SanFran MusicTech, contact Brian at brian [at] sanfranmusictech [dot] com or visit http://www.sanfranmusictech.com.
FMC was glad to once again participate in the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ conference “Presenting America: New Ground,” which took place January 11-15 in New York City. We’ll be posting audio from the event within the coming weeks.
On January 11, FMC Deputy Director Jean Cook participated in a panel called: “I Need Permission To Do What? Basic Intellectual Property Issues for the Digital Age.” The discussion took a look at some of the complex issues surrounding the use of copyrighted material in an ever-evolving technological landscape, with an emphasis on how the performing arts community can navigate the tricky waters of permissions and licensing.
On January 14, Education Director Kristin Thomson joined Jean Cook for the “Media Ownership Matters!” panel, which served as a media policy update for musicians, agents, managers and arts advocates.
Insurance expert (and musician) Alex Maiolo was also in attendance throughout the weekend representing FMC’s HINT project, which offers free health insurance advice to musicians. Alex talked to dozens of musicians and managers at APAP, and you can talk with Alex, too. Visit http://www.futureofmusic.org/hint/ for more info on health insurance for musicians, or to make an appointment to speak to our HINT folks, for free.
There have been some favorable developments on the Low Power FM front lately. The FCC has recently been taking steps to preserve and nurture LPFM stations in communities across the country, and we gotta give credit where it’s due. In a November 2007 Report and Order, the Commission moved to prevent single groups from having more than one LPFM station license, and placed limits on “translators,” which extend the reach of commercial radio by duplicating the signals of full power stations.
There has also been aggressive movement to pass legislation in the House and Senate to remove the ban on the FCC offering LPFM licenses in more populated areas. If this happens, bigger towns and cities will be able to reap the benefits of local community radio as an alternative to homogenized commercial broadcasting. FMC and our friends at Prometheus Radio Project are working on putting together two LPFM Leadership Days — tentatively scheduled for February 25 and 26 — which will give LPFM supporters a chance to interact with lawmakers about this important cause. Stay “tuned” for more info.
Read FMC’s Low Power FM fact sheet
Last October, the FCC opened a brief application window for Full-Power, non-commercial radio station licenses — the first time in several years such an great opportunity had arisen. FMC worked with the Radio for the People Coalition to help non-profit groups through the process via our Full-Power Initiative. Project manager Mike Janssen recruited arts and cultural groups to apply for stations, and shepherded organizations and collectives like the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Acra NY’s Transmission Arts Collective through the application process.
Lately, Mike has been writing a series of FMC blog posts describing what the experience was like for applicants. The first provided an overview of who qualified, and why they wanted a piece of the public spectrum. The second and third posts take a closer look at individual groups, including a fly-fishing society from Colorado and a Hare Krishna community in West Virginia. Upcoming posts will touch on other broadcasting hopefuls, including large and small Christian groups vying for a slice of the dial. Click here to read the series so far.
Read FMC’s Full Power Initiative Fact Sheet
It hasn’t all been panels and blog posts here at FMC. We’ve also updated all of our fact sheets for 2008. Perfect for brushing up on a variety of issues, these plain-language info bulletins are meant as a resource for musicians and citizens alike. Here’s what’s on offer:
Net Neutrality: the importance of a neutral internet means for musicians
HD Radio: what it is and why musicians should care about this emerging technology
Low Power FM Radio: community broadcasting is offering alternatives to corporatization
SoundExchange: how it helps performers and labels get paid for digital plays
Touring Internationally: understanding the challenges of gigging globally
Traveling With Instruments: how to get where you’re going with what you need
Orphan Works: extended copyright laws lead to lost works
Public Performance Right for Sound Recordings: aiming for parity in broadcast royalties
You can find them all at http://www.futureofmusic.org/articles/, where you can also read two older fact sheets on Media Ownership and Full Power Radio Licenses, as well as articles on net neutrality and arts and culture in broadcasting.
Thanks to a grant from the New York State Music Fund, FMC has also been able to develop some fact sheets specifically tailored to the interests of New York State musicians. In addition to the fact sheets listed above, check out:
Health Insurance for New York State Musicians
Resources for New York State Musicians
Low Power FM Stations in New York
All of these, and more, are accessible at http://www.futureofmusic.org/nysmf/
And, if you’re a musician or songwriter who lives in New York State, then we have some questions for you.
In April 2008, FMC is partnering with AFM and other awesome arts groups to organize one-day music/tech/policy events for musicians, composers, songwriters, booking agents and label folks in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany.
So, if you’re an NYS artist, please take a few minutes to answer the questions in this online survey to ensure that these events hit on the right topics and the most urgent issues.
Thanks in advance!
On February 14, Education Director Kristin Thomson headed up to McGill University in Montreal to guest lecture at an interdisciplinary class being taught by producer extraordinaire and FMC advisory board member Sandy Pearlman: “The Treble Cliff — The Remonetization of Music and other Promiscuously Transportable Media Objects.” Wow, that’s a title. Much more interesting than Econ 101. Kristin talked about the range of new business models out there for musicians, and how (or if) musicians and songwriters are compensated in each case.
This event is a little ways off, but that will gives you a chance to make arrangements, right? The Local Media, Democracy & Justice Summit, which is hosted by our friends at Common Cause, takes place on Saturday, March 29 at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Issues regarding media’s impact on economic, gender and racial justice will be addressed, as will the importance of bringing community voices to the fore through Low-Power FM, Public Access TV and the internet. Click here for details.