When FMC’s staff book club went on Amazon to order copies of Creative License this summer, the online shopping service suggested we also check out Lawrence Lessig’s Remix, Greg Kot’s Ripped and Jonathan Zittrain’s The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It. Funny thing about these recommendations? They are all books our staff has read over the past several years. Amazon’s recommendation service was spot on, thanks to back-end data collection tracking our browsing and buying habits. This is the upside to advances in online data collection, and these improvements in technology and information tracking have greatly enhanced the ability of both developing and established artists stay connected with their fans. Data collection in the digital environment helps musicians (and their business partners) do everything from market and sell product to route tours to build anticipation for upcoming releases, appearances and more.
While leveraging user data for fan engagement and efficiency in web-based services is certainly a benefit, the explosion of mobile devices, apps and social networks raises significant privacy concerns about what data is collected from users, how it is collected and maintained, who the data is shared with and what standards should exist for transparency. To help answer these questions, FMC’s legal intern dream team of Adam Holofcener and Liz Allen compiled an article exploring why privacy online matters, the current state of US privacy law, what you’ll find in most online privacy policies (if you’re lucky enough to be using a website or app that has one) and how to protect yourself online as a consumer or artist. These are complicated, important questions that deserve consideration by fans, musicians and their business partners in deciding what kind of apps and services online — from credit card processing for merch sales to mobile streaming platforms for new releases — to use and direct fans to.
For all the ins and outs of the privacy situation, read Adam and Liz’s full article.