Greetings, FMC fans! This month we’re gearing up for our annual trek to Austin, spreading the word about some important surveys, and letting you know about new legislation to make it easier for international musicians to tour the US. Read on!
If you happening to be joining in the fun at SXSW next week, be sure to carve out some time amidst the BBQ and great music to check out some of the action-packed panels featuring FMC staff and board members.
From the next generation of apps & services, to making streaming royalties fair(er), to deep-dives on transparency and the intricacies of copyright law, there are some great conversations happening and FMC is right in the middle of it.
Check out the full schedule here.
If you’re in the music business or hanging around the music business, you’ve probably heard about blockchain—an emerging technology that has taken on near-mythical proportions in the minds of many.
What is blockchain? Well, at its most basic, it’s a decentralized database that records transactions in a ledger comprising “blocks” of information. Most people associate blockchain with BitCoin, a cryptocurrency that has inspired plenty of breathless reporting. But blockchain doesn’t have to be married to invisible Internet money. It’s also a powerful system of tracking information with tremendous flexibility in setting obligations and terms among business partners.
There are currently a lot of smart folks trying to figure out ways that blockchain can resolve the music industry’s longstanding issues with transparency and accountability. One new project/concept that we’re very interested in is .bc (#dotblockchain), dreamed into existence byPledgeMusic founder and FMC Board member Benji Rogers. This concept would essentially be a new format extension with all the metadata and permissions expressed in real-time along with the audio.
We could attempt to explain all of this, but Benji is way better at it. Check out his recent Fair Trade Music articles: Part One and Part Two. Benji is working closely with FMC board VP Ken Umezaki to better understand how the broader music community considers “fairness” in the current landscape. We strongly encourage you to take this short, FUN survey so that your perspectives can help shape the .bc concept.
FutureBlog is your destination for analysis of the latest news in music/tech/policy; here’s a selection of our most popular recent posts:
Where’s My Mechanicals Pt II: The Litigationing
As lawsuits pile up targeting digital music services like Spotify and Tidal over unpaid mechanical royalties, we explain what it all means, and why paying “some” or “most” songwriters when their work is used is never good enough.
Musicians Miffed at Megacable
Last year, musicians joined with a broad coalition of consumer advocates to defeat Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. Now another megamerger is on the horizon, with big implications for musicians ability to reach audiences on their own terms.
Former Inmates Lose Their Right To Listen
For incarcerated people, music can play an important role in inmates safety and reducing recidivism. But a new lawsuit alleges that the Federal Bureau of Prisons allowing access to be restricted for corporate profits.
Philadelphia Scraps Live Music Bill After Ouctry from Music Community
A proposed ordinance that would have required promoters to turn over the names and addresses of every performing musician to police has been withdrawn. What can be learned from this debacle, and how can local governments avoid such missteps?
Are you able to make a living through your artistic practice? Do you have health insurance? Have you enrolled in Obamacare (how’s it going?)? What keeps you up at night?
The Mellon Foundation is conducting a survey to better understand the current state of artists currently working and living in the US. This is your chance to let Mellon know your most pressing needs as it considers the ways in which it might expand its support of our community.
The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Please note that any results or findings from the survey will contain only unidentifiable, summary data.
Take the survey now!
The life of a touring musician is rarely easy. But right now, international musicians seeking to perform in the US are faced with unpredictable delays in visa processing, as wait times which are supposed to be limited to 14 days may reach 30 to 100 days.
This hurts arts organizations, who are forced to pay for unaffordable expedited processing, or risk cancelling scheduled performers. It also hurts US performers booked to perform alongside international guests, as cancellations lead to lost work. And it prevents US music lovers from enjoying the benefits of international cultural exchange.
The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) responds to this problem by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to provide expedited review of applications for artist visas, and to do so without charging nonprofit organizations.
We’ve put together a simple tool for you to contact your senators about this legislation. Write a letter today!
You can always contact us at suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org (suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org)