It’s full speed ahead for the Future of Music Policy Summit 2009, which takes place at Georgetown University in DC on October 4-6. The clock is ticking on early-bird discounts (official cutoff is midnight on Friday, August 21), so grab yours now!
Stellar Speakers We’ve got some incredible speakers and panelists lined up for the event, with more on the way. One of the more exciting recent additions is Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify — the potentially game-changing music service that’s sweeping Europe and collecting press mentions like rockers collect hangovers. Ek will swing in from Sweden and offer his vision for music in the digital age, which you won’t want to miss.
On the artist side, we’re thrilled to announce that the legendary Wayne Kramer of MC5 will be joining us as well as Dave Allen of Gang of Four. Then there’s Senator Al Franken, who will be delivering a keynote address about net neutrality. We’ve seen the newly minted Senator in action at various hearings, and we think he’s gonna be awesome at Summit 09. Sunday: Practical Programming for Working Musicians On Sunday, October 4 from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM, the programming will focus on practical tips for today’s working musicians of all genres. First, we’ll walk through a variety of New Business Models and talk about how each of them are (or are not) compensating musicians. Then we’ll focus on how musicians are successfully using Social Networking tools to enhance their careers and build their fan base. After that, it’s time for a Policy Primer that will bring musicians up to speed on the legislative issues that are impacting their careers. Throughout the day, FMC’s HINT coordinator, Alex Maiolo, will be on hand to provide free, private, personalized advice to musicians without health insurance. The day will close with a screening of Copyright Criminals, a stunning documentary about the sample license clearance process that is debuting at the Toronto Film Festival in September and will be shown on PBS soon. When the day wraps up, it’s off to our traditional Pho Dinner!
Monday and Tuesday: Critical Conversations and Visionary Statements On Monday, October 5, join us for a day’s worth of panels. We’ll start with a conversation about how some of today’s biggest musicians are recapturing control of their copyrights, and striking deals on their own. We’ll also take a look at what we learned in the 10 year period following the introduction of Napster, and talk about whether ISPs and other internet services should shoulder any of the burden in compensating musicians in the future.
On Tuesday, October 6, we’ll dedicate the morning to short presentations by or conversations with some of today’s most compelling and engaged players in the music-technology space. Then, after lunch, we’ll break into small groups to brainstorm about some of the issues presented in the morning, and to discuss the “Future of…” many different facets of our community: Metadata, Storage, Music Journalism, Artists as Social Change Agents and more.
Check out the entire schedule here
Confirmed Speakers Keynote Address Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
Panelists Ken Abdo Vice President and co-chair of Entertainment Law Department, Lommen Abdo Law Firm Dave Allen Musician, Gang of Four Tony Berman Founder, Berman Entertainment and Technology Law Michael Bracy Policy Director, Future of Music Coalition Helen Bruner Producer, Songwriter, and Grammy-nominated artist, Phil’erzy Productions David Carson General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office Ann Chaitovitz Owner, Ann Chaitovitz Consulting Candace Clement Campaign Coordinator, Free Press John Crigler Owner, Garvey Shubert Barer Peter DiCola Assistant Professor of Law, Northwestern University Daniel Ek Founder and CEO, Spotify Scott Goodstein Founder, Revolutionary Messaging Jim Griffin Founder, Choruss Jordan Hirsch Executive Director, Sweet Home New Orleans Seth Hurwitz Chairman, IMP Ariel Hyatt Founder and Owner, Ariel Cyber PR Peter Jaszi Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, American University Greg Kot Columnist, Chicago Tribune Wayne Kramer Musician, MC5 Alex Maiolo HINT Program Coordinator, Future of Music Coalition Charlie McEnerney Founder and Producer, Well-Rounded Radio Kembrew McLeod Associate Professor, University of Iowa David Oxenford Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Tim Quirk Vice President of Music Programming, Rhapsody Paul Rapp Owner, The Law Offices of Paul C. Rapp Ian Rogers CEO, TopSpin Johanna Shelton Senior Policy Counsel & Legislative Strategist, Google Inc. John Strohm Associate Attorney, Johnston Barton Kristin Thomson Education Director, Future of Music Coalition Marcy Rauer Wagman Associate Professor, Drexel University; CEO and Founder, MAD Dragon UNLTD Brian Zisk Co-founder, Collecta; Founder and Executive Producer, SanFran MusicTech Summit
Reserve your spot today! Early Bird Registration: $149. Expires on Friday, August 21 at midnight ET CLE Registration: $349. This programming has been approved for 5.5 credits and 2.0 ethics credits.
Scholarships for Working Musicians: As always, we’re offering scholarships to musicians to ensure that their voices are not left out of these important debates. These are going fast so apply now!
Special Rates for Students
Check out all the details at the official Policy Summit 2009 page
On August 4, FMC attended a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Performance Rights Act (PRA). There’s been a lot of back-and-forth on the PRA, which would establish a performance right for sound recordings, and compensate performers and sound copyright owners when their music is broadcast on terrestrial (over-the-air) radio. This right already exists for digital performances, including satellite radio, webcasts and those music-with-no-video channels at the high end of your cable TV dial. Terrestrial broadcasters, on the other hand, only compensate songwriters and publishers for the tunes they play. The performers who breathe life into these compositions and the sound copyright owners (usually the labels) receive no payment for these spins. Just about every industrialized country on the planet has a performance right for traditional broadcasting, but the US (along with North Korea, China and Iran) does not.
The August 4 hearing was called “The Performance Rights Act and Parity Among Music Delivery Platforms.” Which is basically a wonky way of asking, “hey — if everyone else is compensating performing artists for these plays, how come terrestrial radio gets to use the music for free?” Although the hearing didn’t totally answer that question, it was a lot more substantive than some of the debates we’ve heard about the issue. Check out this handy play-by-play on the hearing at FutureBlog.
You may have also come across news about a recent petition filed at the FCC by musicFIRST — a group including labels, musicians’ unions, SoundExchange and hundreds of musicians — that claims that some artists have been denied radio play based on their support of the Performance Right. (The petition also takes issue with broadcasters’ refusal to air paid pro-performance right advertisements to counter the National Association of Broadcasters’ own spin-heavy ads.) FMC isn’t part of musicFIRST and aren’t involved in the filing, but we will be keeping a close eye on developments. For now, check out this article in Ars Technica for a good description of the situation.
You can also check out FMC Communications Director Casey Rae-Hunter’s podcast interview with Seven Days Newspaper in Burlington, Vermont — where, not-so-coincidentally, Casey previously served as Music Editor. In another non-coincidence, Vermont Senator, Patrick Leahy (D) introduced the Senate version of the Performance Rights Act (S-379) back in February 2009. Small world, huh? Head here to listen to the podcast.
To learn more about the Public Performance Right (and why FMC supports it), see our fact sheet.
When President Obama entered office, three out of the five FCC Commissioner spots, including the FCC Chairmanship, were vacant. Last month, the Senate confirmed Julius Genochowski to head up the agency. On July 15, 2009, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on Obama’s nominees for the two remaining Commissioner seats. Not long after, the full Senate confirmed both Mignon Clyburn (D) and Meredith Baker (R).
Now that the leadership is in place, we’ll be paying close attention as the Commission sets its priorities. One of them is certainly a national broadband strategy, which will decide how the FCC - in coordination with the administration, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and other federal agencies - will address the urgent need to get high-quality and affordable broadband to more American communities. We’re certainly down with that.
Of course, the FCC is also charged with regulating the broadcasting industry, and we definitely think there’s a lot to be done in terms of reversing the negative trend of radio ownership consolidation that has left the public airwaves bereft of localism, diversity and opportunity for artists. We’ll have more to report on that front in the coming weeks, but for now, you can check out this article, which provides a bird’s-eye look at the Senate hearings for the FCC appointees.
On Friday, July 31, Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3458), which would protect the web we use everyday by making it unlawful for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to “block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet access service to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet.”
We at FMC believe that net neutrality is crucial because it lets independent artists and labels compete on an equal technological playing field with the biggest companies. Imagine logging on to your favorite band’s website, only to have it take forever to load on your computer because they couldn’t to afford (or didn’t want to) pay a toll to their ISP. All artists deserve the right to use the internet to cultivate listeners, and fans deserve to make their own choices of how and where to access legitimate content.
The new bill would make the FCC the agency responsible for enforcing net neutrality rules, while establishing a consumer complaint system for the public to alert the Commission to possible violations. The legislation, which has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, also contains language that recognizes the increasing role the internet plays in communications, commerce and innovation.
In 2007, FMC created the Rock the Net campaign to raise awareness about this issue and how it impacts musicians. Since then, we’ve seen the pro-net neutrality movement grow from a seemingly abstract tech issue to a legitimate grassroots movement that promotes inclusion, innovation and creativity.
Net neutrality supporters have made major inroads in the last few years, and it’s clear that the new administration and FCC understand the issue and are committed to making it a priority. Still, there’s powerful opposition, particularly now that there’s an effort to expand broadband services to more parts of the country. As we work to increase the availability of this crucial information technology, we must ensure that the internet continues to provide a platform for access for all. Rest assured that FMC will keep advocating for a legitimate digital music marketplace that rewards musicians and fans alike.
On August 5, NewMusicBox, the webmagazine for the American Music Center, published “Guess Who’s Invited to the White House?” — an Op-Ed by FMC’s Jean Cook and Casey Rae-Hunter. The article looks at new opportunities for the arts community to engage with government. We’re seeing a lot of “public displays of affection” between artists and the new administration (White House Performance Series, poetry readings, etc.). But musicians and arts advocates need to start seeing the bigger picture in terms of government, like, how do the pieces connect, and where can we make a case for more proactive engagement? It’s time to get creative in our dealings with government, from federal agencies to local municipalities. This article is about how a shift in mindset could ultimately lead to a more resilient American arts culture.
On July 27, FMC founding Board member and General Counsel Walter McDonough chatted live on “Smart Talk” - a program that airs on Pennsylvania-s WITF FM. Walter called in to talk about the state of the record industry since the advent of digital technologies like filesharing. Joining him was David Ivory, Grammy-winning Producer/Owner of Ivory Productions.
Only Walter can namedrop Black Moth Super Rainbow, Pere Ubu and the Red Sox in a single interview. Still, host Craig Cohen managed to keep things on track. The conversation covered a wide range of topics from digital pricing to changes in consumptive behavior to new models that might make up for some of the revenue lost from dwindling physical product sales.
Did we mention it was a call-in show? Listeners seemed genuinely psyched to participate in the conversation and there were a couple of really interesting questions. But why read about it here when you can head over to the WITF site and listen to the audio?
The word metadata may sound more Star Trek than rock star, but it is a critical issue for musicians trying to make a living via emerging digital revenue streams. But what is metadata?
Metadata is information that lives with every file on your computer. Through a magic merger of words and 1’s and 0’s, metadata “describes” files so they can be managed by both the user and the system. In the case of a music file, like an MP3, metadata refers to the “tags” associated with a particular piece of music - typically information about the artist, album name, year of release, etc. On the surface, it might seem like these tags are mostly useful for the listener who needs some way to quickly sort through MP3s. But they are incredibly important for musicians and labels as well, since metadata is increasingly the key to the proper flow of revenue to rightsholders and creators. Have a look at this FutureBlog entry, written by intern Daniel Eno, for more info.
The venerable SXSW Music Conference, which takes over Austin, TX every March around St. Patrick’s Day, is trying an experiment this year: they’re using crowdsourcing techniques to generate programming ideas for the conference. And, as of Monday, July 17, these ideas are now posted on their site at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ …and now everything is up for a vote! FMC submitted four panel ideas to the Panel Picker, and we want your support! Check out all four here (or read the descriptions below). No More Static: Radio’s Networked, Streaming, Mobile Future “Radio” used to mean one of two things: AM or FM. Now, “radio” includes AM/FM, HD, satellite, NPR, college, podcasts, webcasts, with almost all of these also available via mobile devices. What services and platforms have musicians and labels embraced? What’s working? What could radio look like in the future? Local Support: Creating Resilient Local Music Scenes In this era of increasingly globalized, internet-driven networks, what does a vibrant local music scene look like? What are the building blocks of strong cultural communities? How are musicians demonstrating their value to local leaders? Panelists from different regions will discuss exactly what makes their music scenes survive and thrive. Social Networks and the Future for Musicians How can musicians use Social Networks to improve their careers, reach more fans, connect with those they currently have, and make more money? Thought leaders at the convergence of music and technology share what they are learning, and where they see this all heading in the future… Creative Capitol: Music, Culture and Policy under Obama The 2009 inauguration of Obama – plus Democratic majorities in Congress – meant a radical shift in the power dynamic in Washington, DC. How are creative industries faring in this administration? Top staffers will discuss the key music-technology-policy issues on Capitol Hill and at the FCC, and how musicians are engaging. How to Vote: 1. go to http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ and create an account 2. login to the SXSW Music Conference Programming listing and browse, or go straight to this listing to vote for FMC’s panels. It’s a simple thumbs up or thumbs down process. Thanks for your support, and we’ll see you in Austin!
FMC is currently hiring an International Project Fellow. For this position, we’re looking for an individual to work in a 5+ month term and help research and interview musicians and music business people from around the world. Duties include research on musicians, regions, businesses; logistics coordination for interviews and international trips; coordinating and organizing interview transcripts. Depending on skills, experience level, and needs of the project/timing, a fellow may also conduct interviews and/or travel with the team as road/logistics manager on a trip and/or participate in report writing.
Head to our positions page for more info and to learn how to apply.
You can always contact us at suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org if you have any questions.
Thanks, Jean Cook Michael Bracy Walter McDonough Brian Zisk Kristin Thomson Casey Rae-Hunter Chhaya Kapadia Nicole Duffey Alex Maiolo