Is the idea that musicians should be allowed to participate fully in our country’s economy unrealistic? I hope not; though—barring the introduction of a completely new economy that treats musicians as valuable members of society—I believe it will require a sea change. We will need to demystify the music industry and the nitty gritty of what it means to be a professional musician. We need: read more
Earlier this month, the New York Times Magazine reached out to Future of Music Coalition with regard to a forthcoming feature. We like to help out with this sort of thing, because we know that music business structures and practices can be quite complicated, and think it’s important that journalists get the facts and context as correct as possible, whatever narrative they’re advancing. Last week, fact-checkers from the magazine followed up with FMC staff. There was a good deal of back and forth as we were provided short paragraphs, and later, individual sentences, from the article and asked to verify whether they were “true.” (Unfortunately, we weren’t provided with much context.)
Alas, what ended up running was rather disappointing.NYT Magazine chose to publish without substantive change most of the things that we told them were either: a) not accurate or b) not verifiable because there is no industry consensus and the “facts” could really go either way.
And just as there are more avenues for consumers to pay for creative work, there are more ways to be compensated for making that work. Think of that signature flourish of 2000s-era television artistry: the exquisitely curated (and usually obscure) song that signals the transition from final shot to the rolling credits. Having a track featured during the credits of ‘‘Girls’’ or ‘‘Breaking Bad’’ or ‘‘True Blood’’ can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a songwriter. (Before that point, the idea of licensing a popular song for the credits of a television series was almost unheard-of.) Video-game budgets pay for actors, composers, writers and song licenses.
The very first music festival probably took place in a small clearing, just a pterodactyl’s throw from the main cave; the manufacturers of crude stone implements no doubt sponsored the one after that.
Woodstock came later, demonstrating huge demand for music, drugs and the communal experience. With recorded music revenue in a protracted free fall, the live space has become an even greater industry obsession…
Post authored by Communications Intern Olivia Brown and Communications Associate Kevin Erickson
Last week, we were dismayed to learn that friend of FMC, singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Franz Nicolay was robbed of his computer, tour cash, and passport while on tour in Paris. Franz has long been generous in sharing his insights on the life of a working musician with Futureblog readers. We encourage residents of Europe to go out and support Franz on his remaining tour dates, and everyone else to consider supporting him with a purchase through his Bandcamp page.
This unfortunate episode underscores a point we’ve been making for some time: as journalist Maura Johnston has memorably quipped, “being on the road doesn’t involve plucking bills from Cash Trees lining the highway.” In reality, touring is relentless hard work, and even for streamlined, no-frills acts, it’s not cheap. Even if they plan frugally, many artists ultimately wind up in the red. And it can be risky: thefts like the one Franz experienced are frustratinglycommon.
[…] “It’s been 10 years since Napster, and now we have some perspective,” says Thomson, of the Future of Music Coalition. She says the industry’s efforts to preserve old rules of the business - by limiting digital copies and pursuing people who downloaded music illegally - have failed.
“They had some success, but they can’t get back to the point where there’s forced scarcity. Before 1999, where could you buy records? You could buy them at the store, and you could hear them on the radio. The Internet changed all that.” […]
With concert giants Live Nation and AEG based in Los Angeles, there’s little room for an independent promoter to maneuver. Yet Mitchell Frank and his Spaceland Productions have managed to thrive.
Putting on shows under the Spaceland brand since March 1995, Frank hosts concerts at just three Silver Lake and Echo Park venues — Spaceland, the Echo and the Echoplex. That would seem to put Frank below the radar of most major operations, but in the wake of the Department of Justice giving the green light, albeit with concessions, to a merger between promoter/venue owner Live Nation and ticketing agency/management firm Ticketmaster Entertainment, Frank suddenly finds himself in the unenviable position of making money for the competitor.
The Washington, D.C.-based Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit education and advocacy group for musicians, does not have a stance on the merger, but director Michael Bracy is encouraging the industry to be vocal. The Department of Justice is currently receiving comments on the ruling, as it will for close to another 60 days.
“This is an important time to get on the record, particularly for those who feel it didnâ€™t go far enough,” Bracy said. “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.” read more