Readers of this blog are probably familiar with the concept of “net neutrality” and why it matters to musicians. But let us remind you anyway.
All of the amazing internet tools that musicians and music entrepreneurs use every day are a result of the open internet, which gives anyone a license to innovate. Without basic protections to preserve this dynamic, the internet we know and love could become extinct. We’ve seen that movie before: just look at commercial broadcast radio to see what happens when just a few powerful companies control access to audiences and what content is even available. read more
Moments ago, the United States Senate voted in favor of preserving an open and accessible internet. This is an important victory for musicians and other entrepreneurs, as it helps to ensure competition and free expression online.
We’d like to thank the thousands of musicians who have gone on record at the Federal Communications Commission, in Congress and elsewhere in support of these basic and necessary rules. We’ve always known that artists care about these issues, but it’s truly remarkable to see so many step up and make their voices heard. read more
On June 9, 2011,My Morning Jacket— who are celebrating the recent release of their latest album,Circuital — sent a letter to members of Congress’ Kentucky delegation sharing their thoughts on why noncommercial radio and an accessible, innovation-driven internet are so crucial to their band (and today’s music industry in general). Download aPDF below.
Dear Members of the Kentucky Congressional Delegation:
We are writing to you as members of My Morning Jacket and as proud citizens of Kentucky. As musicians, we are concerned about a number of issues that we, and other contributors to Kentucky’s artistic economy, are currently confronting. In order to continue producing original creative work, our community requires access to the Internet and a supportive broadcast media. We are concerned with recent Congressional activity around these crucial platforms and urge you to consider the impact of your decisions on the creative sector.
By way of introduction, we are a musical group formed in 1998 in Louisville, Kentucky. We released our first album the following year. In the ensuing years, our music has been featured in films and television and we have toured the world and played to crowds numbering in the tens of thousands. In May, we released our sixth full-length studio album,Circuital. We are happy to report we just learned the album debuted number 5 on the Billboard album charts. To celebrate the release, we have been playing a series of shows around the country and donating a portion of our ticket sales to local charities. We started as a small local band in Louisville and have grown into a successful small business that employs a dozens of people and allows us to tour and sell records throughout the world.
Our ability to build a fan base at home and abroad was — and still is — dependent to a large degree on the Internet. The Internet has changed how musicians connect to their listeners — from online stores, to streaming sites like Pandora and Rhapsody, to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. These are resources that help us reach our fans and sell our product so that we generate revenue for our employees and ourselves. These outlets are absolutely essential to us and to every working musician today.
Technology (and for that matter, the entire music business) is constantly evolving. We believe it is of paramount importance to preserve the Internet as an engine for creativity and commerce. We think there should be basic rules to ensure that there is a legitimate digital music marketplace for Kentucky’s musicians now and going forward. Open access to the web and its innovations is crucial to our band, our community and Kentucky’s future artists.
As helpful as Internet technologies are, we still also depend on traditional technologies like radio. In particular, public radio has been a champion of our band and many other Kentucky acts. Having our song played on public radio is essential to the growth of our band and business, and it is essential for thousands of artists that rely on the exposure generated byNPRand non-commercial radio stations. Eliminating funding for public broadcasting would be hugely damaging to working musicians, not to mention having a negative impact on local economies.
It is our belief that funding public broadcasting and maintaining open Internet access are two essential components in nourishing the vital music scene in the state of Kentucky.
As Kentuckians, musicians, and small business owners, we urge you to preserve the things that are most critical to our ability to make a living from our music: the Internet and non-commercial radio.
Bo Koster Carl Broemel
Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians, strongly opposes a resolution set for a vote in the House of Representatives that would eliminate the FCC’s ability to preserve the internet as an open marketplace for creativity and commerce. read more
On March 9, 2011, Billboard chart-topping band the Decemberists sent a letter to Oregon members of Congress in support of public radio and open internet access. The Portland, Oregon band has sold more than 1.25 million records worldwide, in part due to their ability to reach fans via the internet and non-commercial radio. The text of the letter is below; a PDF copy can be downloaded here.
Dear members of the Oregon Congressional delegation: read more
The most important piece of furniture in the living room of my cabin in western Massachusetts isn’t a comfy chair or functional table, it’s a vintage radio and record player from the early 1920’s. Almost as big as a modern refrigerator, it’s a monument to a time when music had a physical presence that was hard to ignore. Next to it, you’ll find my laptop and smart phone charging, taking a brief rest from their daily toil of communication, commerce, and yes, entertainment. Seeing them side-by-side reminds me that, while the core of what we love about music has remained constant through the years, the way we interact with it and its creators has changed dramatically. read more
Washington, D.C.— Billboard chart-topping band the Decemberists today sent a letter to Oregon members of Congress in support of public radio and open internet access. The Portland, Oregon band has sold more than 1.25 million records worldwide, in part due to their ability to reach fans via the internet and non-commercial radio.
The text of the letter is below; a PDF copy can be downloaded here.
Dear members of the Oregon Congressional delegation: read more
On March 9, 2011, Billboard chart-topping band the Decemberists sent a letter to Oregon members of Congress in support of public radio and open internet access. The Portland, Oregon band has sold more than 1.25 million records worldwide, in part due to their ability to reach fans via the internet and non-commercial radio.
Dear members of the Oregon Congressional delegation:
We are writing to you as members of the Decemberists, and also as proud citizens of Oregon. We wanted to inform you, as representatives for our state, about a couple of issues of utmost importance to a segment of your constituency: musicians and other contributors to Oregon’s creative economy. In order to continue doing what we do, our community requires access to the internet and a supportive broadcast media. We are concerned with recent Congressional activity around these crucial platforms, and urge you to consider the impact of your decisions on the creative sector.
[This post is by FMC Policy Intern Adam Holofcener, who bravely attended the Students for Free Culture Conference (Feb. 19-20), and furnished this report.]
This past weekend, Students for Free Culture (SFC) held their annual conference at New York University. The event was loaded with lamentations about the current state of copyright, complemented by youthful exuberance for a future based in access and innovation. (We might add compensation for creators to that list.) read more
OK Go have been doing fine without a major label, though, and they’re not alone. Casey Rae Hunter of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, says there has been an explosion of independent musicians who can now reach their fans without a label or radio.
“In the old days, they would still have to navigate this pretty complex system of bottlenecks and gatekeepers to reach the fan,” Hunter says. “The Internet means that you can develop and cultivate these sort of one-on-one relationships. They can become viral, like as in the case of the amazing OK Go videos that you see on YouTube. Or it can be just a sort of like, ‘Holy crap, I’m talking to my favorite rock star on Twitter.’ “