We’re delighted to announce the dates and location for our eighth Future of Music Policy Summit, which takes place at Georgetown University in Washington, DC from October 4-6, 2009, and it’s looking like our best Summit yet. Expect a multi-day event with a range of visionary speakers talking about — what else? — the future of music, a full day of artist-oriented presentations (similar to our popular “What’s the Future for Musicians?” series) and CLE programming. We’re also hoping to throw social media technology into the mix and open the door for increased networking opportunities. Stay tuned for info on early-bird registration (via our website starting in June), musicians scholarships, CLE and more.
FMC co-founder and Technologies Director Brian Zisk is a fascinating guy to talk to, especially when he’s gearing up for one of his SanFran MusicTech Summits, which bring the best and brightest in the music/technology space together with musicians, media folks, industry representatives and others who contribute to the digital music ecosystem.
With the next SFMT set for next Monday, May 18 at the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco, we figured a podcast interview with Brian was in order. Brian gave us a sneak preview of the event, which features panel discussions on “The Future of the Music Industry,” “Monetization,” “The Studio of the Future.” Speakers include FMC’s Jean Cook and Kristin Thomson, Terry McBride of Nettwerk Music Group, Tim Westergren of Pandora, Zahavah Levine of YouTube, Dean Hudson of Sub Pop Records, and FMC advisory board members Josh Wattles of deviantART and Jim Griffin of Choruss/Onehouse/Pho, to name just a few.
Once you get chatting with Brian the conversation can end up anywhere, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to be interesting. Actually, we can’t think of any other podcast interview we’ve done where both Hannah Montana and Frank Zappa were mentioned. Check out the interview here (MP3):
The clock’s ticking to reserve your spot at SanFran Music Tech Summit (May 18 is, like, next Monday), so act now. You know Brian will be psyched to see you!
Next week, FMC staff and musicians from around the country will head to New Orleans for our latest Artist Activism Camp and the accompanying “Musicians Bringing Musicians Home” benefit concert. This is FMC and Air Traffic Control’s fifth retreat, where up-and-coming and established musicians come together to talk about ways to incorporate activism into their lives as artists. On the final day of camp, participants perform in an all-star concert that benefits Sweet Home New Orleans — a coalition of non-profit organizations that helps find affordable housing and provides rental assistance for Katrina displaced musicians, Mardi Gras performers and other traditional New Orleans artists.
This year’s event features an incredible array of talent, including Wayne Kramer (MC5), Jolie Holland, Jon Langford (Waco Brothers, Mekons), Saul Williams, Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5, R.E.M.), Laura Veirs, Vijay Iyer, Erin McKeown, Bonerama, Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, Martín Perna (Antibalas, TV On the Radio, Ocote Soul Sounds), Mariam Adam (Imani Winds), Luke Reynolds (Pictures and Sounds) and Paul Sanchez.
The concert takes place at the legendary Tipitina’s nightclub on Friday, May 22 (doors at 9PM CST). Not in the Big Easy? No prob — you can watch via live webcast at Tipitina’s: http://www.tipitinas.com — showtime is 10PM CST.
Even if you can’t attend or watch the show online, you can still contribute to the cause: Sweet Home New Orleans has announced its first-ever “challenge grant,” in which donations received on May 22 and through the end of the year will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $250,000. This challenge represents an opportunity to double the impact of contributions to SHNO at a critical juncture in the music community’s recovery. To make a donation to Sweet Home New Orleans, visit www.sweethomeneworleans.org or mail to: 828 Royal Street #833 New Orleans, LA 70116.
FMC Facebook page for “Musicians Bringing Musicians Home V”: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=77064047191
Sweet Home New Orleans: http://www.sweethomeneworleans.com
On April 28, FMC released “Same Old Song: An Analysis of Radio Playlists in a Post-FCC Consent Decree World”, an exhaustive, data-driven study that analyzes radio playlists to determine whether the policy interventions resulting from 2003-2007 payola investigations had any effect on the amount of independent music played on terrestrial radio. http://www.futureofmusic.org/research/playlisttrackingstudy.cfm
First of all, it’s important to know why we conducted this study at this particular point in time. Back in 2007, Federal Communications Commission issued consent decrees against the nation’s four largest radio station group owners – Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Citadel and Entercom – as a response to collected evidence and widespread allegations about payola influencing what gets played on the radio. In addition to paying fines totaling $12.5 million, the station group owners also worked with the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) to draft eight “Rules of Engagement” and an “indie set-aside,” in which these four group owners voluntarily agreed to collectively air 4,200 hours of local, regional and unsigned artists, and artists affiliated with independent labels. We thought that it would be a good idea to study some hard data to determine if there’s any more indie music being played on the radio following those policy interventions.
Using playlist data licensed from Mediaguide, we examined four years of airplay – 2005-2008 – from national playlists and from seven specific music formats: Adult Contemporary, Urban AC, Active Rock, Country, Contemporary Hit Radio Pop, Adult Album Alternative Commercial and Triple A Noncommercial. FMC calculated the “airplay share” for five different categories of record labels to determine whether the ratio of major label to non-major label airplay has changed over the past four years.
Our analysis indicated almost no change in station playlist composition in the four years we looked at. Specifically, the national playlist data showed little measurable change in airplay share from 2005-2008, with major label songs consistently securing 78 to 82 percent of airplay. There was a slight increase in airplay for indies on a few formats (Country and AAA Non-Commercial, in particular) but otherwise the data from year to year stayed pretty much the same.
Our study also shows that many formats leave only small portions of their playlist for new material, with current songs sprinkled in among well-worn hits. And looking specifically at airplay for new releases, we found that new major label songs typically receive a higher proportion of spins than new indie label songs. Finally, we looked at the indie labels themselves, and found that only a handful have enough resources and clout to garner airplay consistently.
The report also makes several policy recommendations that might prove useful to the FCC’s oversight of the airwaves and improve the radio landscape for both listeners and the broader music industry. Check out the report for the details and press coverage: http://www.futureofmusic.org/research/playlisttrackingstudy.cfm
Listen to FMC’s Kristin Thomson discuss the findings on Counterspin Radio: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3780
Copyright issues continue to be front-and-center in discussions about creative content in a rapidly-evolving digital environment. And tensions between technology and intellectual property aren’t just a U.S. concern — these issues impact entertainment industries and creative economies across the globe, and ultimately shape how music (and other art and media) is created, distributed and accessed.
The World Copyright Summit — which takes place on June 9 and 10 at the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington, D.C.— will look at issues impacting creators in the digital age. What does the future hold? How will creative works be produced, distributed and consumed? How will creators receive reward for their works and what new challenges face users regarding regulation? These are just some of the questions that will be examined during this two-day event (for which we’re media partners). For more information and to register, visit http://www.copyrightsummit.com.
On April 23-24, Low Power FM advocates from across the country came to D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss how allowing more low power stations to be built in American towns and cities would be a huge benefit to local communities.
FMC brought New Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins to Capitol Hill for a flurry of appearances in support of LPFM. This is an issue that musicians should really care about, because LPFM is a great way for a wider variety of music to be heard on the public airwaves. It also provides a platform for minority, religious and linguistic groups and offers a forum for debate about important local issues. Then there’s emergency preparedness, which is definitely important. But, for FMC, one of the most important things about LPFM is how it expands access to media for musicians. These100-watt stations can really make a difference for musicians who have a hard time getting added to tightly-formatted commercial playlists.
At an April 23 policy briefing on the Hill, Nicole talked about what good community radio would mean for her hometown. “Asbury Park has become something like a ghost town over the years, but it’s starting to come back,” she said. “When I was first starting out, there was a really great local station that was the first to play my music, which gave me confidence as an artist. There’s no longer any stations like that in my town, and LPFM would be a way to give other artists the same chance I had.”
Nicole recapped her D.C. LPFM adventures on her blog: http://futureofmusiccoalition.blogspot.com/2009/05/nicole-atkins-blogs-about-lpfm.html
Check out our Low Power FM factsheet for more info: http://www.futureofmusic.org/articles/lpfmfactsheet.cfm
On May 11-12, a huge array of supporters of a Public Performance Right for terrestrial radio focused their attention on Congress. The goal: build up enough support in the House to pass HR 848, that would require broadcasters to compensate performing artists and sound copyright owners (usually the labels) for their work when played (or “performed”) over-the-air.
The efforts appear to have had their intended effect: on May 13, the Performance Rights Act passed in the House Judiciary Committee. Last minute-tweaks to the legislation — presented by committee chair John Conyers and largely as a response to pressure from minority broadcasters — included delaying the bill’s effective date, reducing the royalty payments due, and insuring that the needs of small, minority, religious and non-music broadcasters are taken into account.
While this is clearly good news for supporters of the Performance Right, there’s a way to go before the royalty becomes a reality. The bill still needs to be voted on in the full House, and companion legislation must be passed in the Senate before it goes to President Obama for signature or veto (just like on “Schoolhouse Rock,” remember?)
FMC supports a Public Performance Right for a number of reasons, mainly because it would directly compensate performers 45 percent of the royalties owed for the use of their music on over-the-air broadcasts. It’s also important to note that the U.S. is one of the only industrialized nations without this right, which means American artists can’t collect money owed to them for overseas spins of their music. If you need a refresher check out our fact sheet: http://www.futureofmusic.org/articles/pprsrfactsheet.cfm
And related FMC blog posts on the Public Performance Right for Sound Recordings: http://futureofmusiccoalition.blogspot.com/search/label/Public%20Performance%20Right
If you’re a Twitter user (frankly, we’re fairly addicted) you’ve probably noticed the sudden proliferation of links to specific tunes, as users “play DJ” and create playlists to be shared with their friends and “followers.”
Wired’s Epicenter blog recently examined some of the most popular Twitter-meets-music applications like blip.fm, twisten.fm and song.ly. With most of these music apps, you simply search for a song, it kicks out a shortened URL link to that song that’s being hosted somewhere on the internet and — tweet! — when your followers click on the link, they can hear the song, too. Naturally, we love new ways to discover music. But this article got us thinking: are musicians being compensated for these plays and, if so, how?
FMC’s crack two-person investigative team decided to look into the situation, and found that there are no broad mechanisms in place to compensate artists for these new uses. We’re not gonna get into the details here, but you can check out this blog post to dive deeper: http://futureofmusiccoalition.blogspot.com/2009/05/twitter-me-this.html
And why not follow us on Twitter? http://twitter.com/future_of_music
On May 5, FMC Education Director Kristin Thomson spoke at a cross-disciplinary course of music industry majors and pre-law students at Drexel University, taught by music attorney and FMC advisory board member, Marcy Rauer Wagman. Kristin used three real-world examples of innovative business models that have made it easier for musicians to distribute their music, and for fans to hear it, but focused on the problems that each service has had navigating a licensing landscape and a copyright framework that is ill-equipped to respond to emerging models. She and the students talked about the promise that some of these services represent, but the difficulties each face in translating their concepts into revenue for creators.
In addition to staff, Board and advisory board appearances at SanFran MusicTech, FMC General Counsel and co-founder Walter McDonough has a couple of upcoming speaking engagements — May 21 at the Canadian Music Publishers Association in Toronto and June 10 at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Inc.’s annual Intellectual Property Law Conference in Boston. Catch him if you can!
You can always contact us at suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org if you have questions.
Michael Bracy Walter McDonough Brian Zisk Kristin Thomson Jean Cook Casey Rae-Hunter Chhaya Kapadia Nicole Duffey Alex Maiolo