It’s been a busy month - so much so that it’s been more than a month
since our last letter. Hopefully when you read about our recent work you’ll
forgive our tardiness. Here are some of the highlights:
Enough already with the preaching to the converted in New York and California!
Isn’t it time someone gathered the best and brightest rockers, programmers,
academics and entrepreneurs in Washington, DC? Isn’t it time to debate
the most exciting and frightening questions regarding music and technology
in a city where our elected representatives and policymakers might benefit
from and participate in the discussion?
We certainly think so! That’s why we’re organizing a two-day policy
conference in Washington DC, tentatively scheduled to be held January
10th and 11th at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall. Visit http://www.seeuthere.com/events/id=45550
to learn more details, make suggestions for panels and panelists, and
to reserve your space today!
On August 4, 2000 the Future of Music Coalition’s Walter McDonough answered
the Copyright Office’s Open Request for Comments concerning the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act by filing comments on behalf of FMC. Our comments
— one of only thirty submitted — have since been posted. Go here
to check out what Walter had to say. You can be sure it’s awfully different
than the major music corporations’ comments, which can also be read
at this link.
Would you pay a dollar a month to support the work of the FMC? How about five?
One of our main goals as an organization is to identify and explore
new business models that could help musicians to both disintermediate
their distribution process and guard the value of their labor. One of
the most interesting and idealistic models that we’ve come across is
the Virtual Tip Jar.
With just a few easy steps, musicians can add a tip jar to their
web page, thereby allowing visitors and fans to voluntarily and directly
compensate them for MP3s that are otherwise free. The concept was
so fascinating to Coalition member Jeff Coleman that he wrote to us
and eventually wrote an article about the process.
We challenged him to get a bunch of bands to put Tip Jars on their
pages and then to report back the results. With a similar spirit in
mind we’ve posted a Tip Jar on our main site.
We encourage you to prove that small amounts of voluntary donations
submitted by a large group of committed supporters can go a long way.
Join us in this experiment by adding a Tip Jar to your own site.
This month we’ve broken down our activities by board member. We’ve
also printed accounts from Kristin Thomson and Peter DiCola who have
been working so closely with the board that we decided to add their
bios to the FMC "Coalition Members" area:
Walter McDonough and the FMC submitted their comments to the Copyright
Office regarding the DMCA. In the coming weeks, after the Coalition
finishes reviewing the other 29 comments that were submitted by interested
parties, we will submit reply comments. Walter also has been working
to establish bridges with independent artists and record labels that
are currently appearing before the European Economic Community’s ongoing
review of digital music distribution. The FMC has categorically endorsed
the work of the Artists’ Coalitions and the National Academy of Recording
Science’s efforts to repeal the controversial "work for hire"
language. Walter is currently interviewing attorneys and law students
who wish to help the FMC. If you want to help, please feel free to
contact him at his e-mail address at digitalmusiclaw [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Brian has been out promoting the Future of Music Coalition through
both online and offline means. He’s been working on the organizational
strategy, pushing to formalize its structure as a non-profit. He is
also pulling together a Board of Technical Advisors that will be able
to objectively evaluate any solutions brought to our attention with
both an understanding of the technology and commitment to valuing
the work of musicians. Brian is also trying to find a Development
Manager to handle fundraising for the Coalition. If you know a fundraiser
who has contacts in the music community and appreciates what we’re
doing, please send them his way: zisk [at] well [dot] com.
Beyond focusing on helping the Future of Music Coalition incorporate
as a 501c(3) non-profit, Michael and the Government Relations staff
took advantage of convention season to make a quick field trip out
to the left coast, where they enjoyed meeting with a number of folks
from the technology world. We are also focusing in on the policy implications
of the November elections, and preparing for the December Future of
Music policy conference.
Jenny spent much of the last month on the road traveling to Nashville,
Chicago, Los Angeles & San Francisco meeting with members of the
music and technology community and solidifying FMC goals. When she
wasn’t traveling, Jenny managed to finish her solo record, publish
new pieces on CNET
Machine and made a guest appearance with Michael and Brian —
who’s a regular — on the Ken Radio show "Speculations".
You can listen to the clips at:
or http://22.214.171.124/audio/spec812.asx .
She is currently working with Michael to secure the coalition’s status
as a non-profit group and to nail down the details of what will truly
be an amazing policy conference in Washington DC this coming January!
Besides pitching in on the plans for the January policy conference,
Kristin continues her work writing and editing articles for The Machine
at Insound.com. She is focusing on fostering more self-sufficiency
in the community, so that the indie bands and labels can continue
to build a strong, supportive network both online and in the real
world. For example, she is currently researching the variety of options
that are available for exchanging money on the internet, from credit
card processing to PayPal to TipJar. With election season drawing
nearer, Kristin will also be working with Michael Bracy on a voter’s
guide - alerting the community about key races and hot issues to remember
Peter’s previous article "The Economics of Recorded Music : From
Free Market to Just Plain Free" has the honor of being the most
commented upon piece in the history of The Machine. In the near future,
Peter will be sharing the results of a focus group conducted on music,
technology, and all things Napster. The participants? His 17-year-old
sister and her friends, who did not disappoint. With their considerable
insights and formidable bantering skills, these kids had plenty to
say. Also on the horizon from Peter: a look at a real-life example
of the possible future of music, and a socioeconomic discussion of
the devaluation of musicians’ work.
If you haven’t read and signed the manifesto
please do so. It is imperative that we document the large number of
musicians, programmers and music fans whose pro-technology/pro-compensation
perspective is not being represented. Tell your friends, link us to
your sites, and spread the good word!
Check out the News section of the Coalition’s
website for a list of links to articles about the FMC that have run
in CNET, ZDTV Radio, Dmusic & The Industry Standard. Expect more
press coverage in the near future!
a) Survey Results
Back in December 1999, we created a fairly simple and cursory survey
to try to get a handle on the indie community’s relationship to the
Internet. By June 2000 we had collected our first 100 responses -
b) Busking as a Form of Online Compensation by Jeff Coleman
"I present my music on the net because it’s the busiest street
in the world. I’d like people to stop and have a listen. If they want
a copy for their own, fine, throw me coin."
c) A Quick Lesson in Digital Downloads by Kristin Thomson
"Okay, we don’t claim to be the experts here, but we’d like to
lay out the basics of digital downloading."
If you have any feedback, questions or suggestions please send an email
to suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org,
and let us know how we’re doing.
Thanks for your support.
xo Jenny Toomey
Acting Executive Director of The Coalition for the Future of Music