Good news for the little guy: Last week, the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet voted overwhelmingly to pass the Local Community Radio Act of 2009. According to a press release from the Future of Music Coalition, which supports the bill, the act will “clear the way for hundreds of Low Power FM (LPFM) broadcasters in American towns and communities— stations that can help fill the void in local programming created by a consolidated commercial radio marketplace” if it’s made into law.
A very inspiring organization, the Future of Music Coalition, have released a series of videos that explore new music industry models. The significance of these models is that they take into account how artists need to be compensated, but recognize the need to be relevant in culture. Of all of them, the subscription-based models stick out the most to me. Music consumers are no longer in the mindset of paying for music on a ?per unit? basis. Instead, we have come to expect to get our music for free, immediately, and involve little effort. A subscription service could possibly function within a culture like ours because it mostly matches this criteria. Subscription services, like Rhapsody, ?feel free? because it is an all you can eat buffet ? a once per month, small fee. In turn, a subscription offers the same flexibility and feel of free downloading.
he music industry is trying to survive and possibly reinvent itself. Artists want to get paid. And consumers want music quickly, with no strings attached. Are all three goals achievable, and if not, who will lose out? Can unfettered access to the Internet co-exist with artists’ desires to get paid for their music? Can the music industry hack its way through a maze of legal obligations and create a new business model that entices fans before they disappear into the digital underground, where music runs wild and free?
These questions dominated the Future of Music Policy Summit in the nation’s capital, an annual gathering of some of the industry’s leading thinkers and innovators, alongside representatives of the music, technology, business and government communities.
OK, a day or so after my panel at the fantastic Future of Music Policy Summit, and I want to try and toss out a few thoughts.
First off, while I?m typically not real big on conferences, I can enthusiastically recommend this one. The values of the conference and the caliber of speakers/workshops makes this - in my mind - the go-to conference. Get yourself registered for 2010 asap.
So, my panel was entitled New Musician?s Toolbox. I moderated, and the panelists were: Duncan Freeman, founder, Band Metrics; Charlie McEnerney, Host + Producer, Well-Rounded Radio/Musicians for Music 2.0; and Alexis Rodich, Director of Marketing and Partner Relations, BandsinTown. Excellent panelists all, and certainly people/companies committed to adding value. I urge you to check out each of these companies.
I think what really hit me about the conference was that it?s the first time where I felt like the expectations of the attendees wasn?t completely whacked. I?ve been doing these conferences for longer than I care to remember, and, in fact, it was after a conference where I spoke, in which, simply because I had the suffix ?A&R? attached to my name, that my panel was over-crowded with a teeming mass of demo-wielding aspirants attempting to fast track themselves to a record deal, that I decided to write my first book telling people that foisting a demo on a fatigued record label executive in the hopes that this would somehow further your career may not be the very best strategy.
It?s true no one wants to make their own pizza. For a quick lunch, you buy a slice of pizza. For a casual dinner out, you have pizza. For an easy dinner at home, you order pizza.
And yet, more and more for artists the do-it-yourself (DIY) model is touted as the way to go. At the Future of Music Conference this week, there was a fascinating panel dedicated to this topic, among others. I can see why DIY in its most raw form would be appealing to so many people. You have complete control over expression, packaging, marketing, and audience interaction. Musician Erin McKeown, is an avid fan and user of this model. She has produced and reached her fan base with her DIY music videos.
This year’s Future of Music Summit, held from Sunday to Tuesday in Washington, D.C., had its usual mix of intelligence and meaningful discourse.
The appearance of Senator Al Franken, who once drew a map of the lower 48 in under two minutes on Letterman, seemed to have piqued reporters’ interest in the annual event and received the most media coverage. But other speakers and topics received coverage as well, and here are some places you can go to read and hear what was said.
If you missed the conference, you may have caught its webcast from the Future of Music Web site. Even busy people who only occasionally tuned into the webcast were treated to great commentary from political and business leaders.
?Foresight? became an operative term this at Georgetown this week, as the Future of Music Coalition (?a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure a diverse musical culture?) held its annual Policy Summit in Gaston Hall and other venues around campus. So, let?s talk about the future. But forget sampling, DRM, all-you-can-listen streaming services, and the RIAA for the time being though?let?s talk about what?s actually working now, as a window to the future.
At the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit earlier this week in Washington, D.C., where Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek gave a talk, hallway chatter centered around licensing ISPs the way the music industry does radio, and Spotify was often mentioned as a services that could potentially make that happen. And it has already proven capable of inking deals at the ISP/telco level.
If ISPs in the United States offer the same, opt-in model that Telia will offer in Sweden, consumers will likely relish that freedom. However, it remains to be seen whether labels in the United States will be willing to abandon their dream of licensing 100 percent of an ISP?s subscribers in a single stroke. read more
As music has become ubiquitous, music critics, and the magazines they write for, have become collateral damage, bypassed on the digital highway by cheap and instant gratification. It?s not that expert insight has become irrelevant in an era of crowdsourced feedback. It?s just that, at $0.99, an impetuous decision gone wrong is simply no big deal. Besides, you can listen to full songs by just about any artist by searching free streams and MP3 blogs to find out what they sound like.
The subject hit home at a panel I was on Tuesday at the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. The subject pretty much gave it away: ?Critical Condition: The Future of Music Journalism? The participants were veterans from the Chicago Tribune, Daily Swarm, Jazz Journalists Association, Idolator, the Independent, National Public Radio, NewMusicBox, Pitchfork Media, URB magazine, Washington City Paper and the Washington Post.
The Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot is covering the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit but as a preview to his coverage he published some interesting album sales info that he received.
In 2008 more than 115,000 albums were released, but only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies, a mere 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 cracked the 1,000 barrier. He doesn’t say so in the article but rather in the comments section that these are based on SoundScan numbers, so it is assumed they are primarily dealing with physical albums sales and not digital.