Today’s post is by FMC Education Director Kristin Thomson, a gal who knows a thing or two about these events. Read on for her picks.
Photo of Chuck D and Hilary Rosen, then president of the RIAA, from the first Policy Summit in 2001. Photo by Pat Graham.
As we approach our 10th Anniversary Future of Music Policy Summit, I have to stop and think: who, besides Michael Bracy and me, have been to all of the Policy Summits? Maybe Tim Quirk, or David Basskin? Step up. We may have a prize for you.
All joking aside, I’m simultaneously thrilled and humbled by the quality of programming and speakers who are joining us for this event. Here are my top 5 programming picks. Register today and join us!
5. Indie labels in 2010. I have a bit of a soft spot for indie labels, given my role as co-owner of Simple Machines Records. That’s why I’m so excited by the diversity and general awesomeness of the folks convening for Sunday’s panel. We have Spott Philpott from Merge Records — the label that recently celebrated 20 years of putting out records, and the engine behind huge releases by Arcade Fire, Superchunk, Spoon, M. Ward and many others. We also have artist manager Dawn Barger, who represents The National and Nicole Atkins, both of whom are signed to large indie labels. We’ll also hear from Amaechi Uzoiogwe from DefJux, a pioneering indie hip hop label, and Richard Burgess from Smithsonian Folkways. How do these labels scale up for larger releases? How have they adapted to a changing music consumption landscape? How are they accounting to their rostered artists? What are the expectations about the artist/label relationship? Moderator Janine Small will dig in and we’ll discuss.
4. Music In the Cloud. “The cloud”. Yes, it’s a buzzword, but there is a real conversation going on about whether music accessed via the cloud is the business model of the future. Licensing issues are critical, but for me the more interesting part of the discussion stems from a conversation I had with manager Peter Jenner a few months ago: say you had all the books in the world stacked up in an airplane hangar in random piles. Without cataloging, curating and filtering, they’re worth nothing. The same questions apply to music. Once all the recorded music is accessible, how do we build value around the cloud? How will we get consumers to pay for music and ancillary services? I’m looking forward to the array of opinions represented on this panel — Rhapsody, Rightsflow, 7Digital, and Peter Jenner himself. Rob Pegoraro from the Washington Post will moderate.
3. A River of Nickels. Anyone who talks to me for more than fifteen minutes knows that this is one of my favorite topics, which is why I’m honored to be moderating this panel on Tuesday. Music fans and outside observers are quick to categorize technological developments like digital music stores, streaming services, social networks and webcasts as positive improvements for creators, but almost all analyses rest purely on assumptions that they have improved musicians’ bottom lines. But are artists actually earning more money? Have musicians’ sources of revenue shifted considerably in the past 10 years? A top-caliber panel of artist managers, business affairs experts and artist attorneys will give us a ground-level view of what’s really going on regarding artist compensation.
2. Tim Westergren in conversation with Wall Street Journal’s Kara Swisher. Tim is the founder and CTO of the now-ubiquitous Pandora, and someone I have admired since I saw him on one of his “Town Hall” speaking tours back in 2006. I have watched in awe as Pandora has not only developed a unique way to catalog music, but has struggled through regulatory uncertainty, done right by musicians, and smartly used technology to build an enormous audience on multiple platforms. On Monday, Tim will sit down with veteran technology journalist Kara Swisher for a conversation about what’s next for Pandora, and how musicians can benefit from being in their increasingly powerful platform.
1. Monsters of Data. I’m not the only one who is looking forward to this panel with a certain amount of excitement, given that the speakers are Eric Garland from Big Champagne, rocker/recovering digital music exec Tim Quirk, brainiac danah boyd and songstress Erin McKeown. What can you learn about consumer behavior when you have a billions of data points, some of it capturing unvarnished consumer activities? What pre-conceived notions about how people listen to music are blown away by this data? And, how is data changing the very nature of “success” in the music industry? FMC’s Peter DiCola, a man who has crunched his fair share of numbers in his time, will jump into the fray as the presenters wade deep in the data river.
What else, you say? I’m looking forward to the presentations on Tuesday morning, the conversations with musicians, and the session about health care reform and its impact on musicians. I’m also thrilled that Ariel Hyatt is running a master class for musicians on Sunday morning, and that SoundExchange is running workshops for musicians and webcasters who want to learn more about digital performance royalties. And then there’s the Pho dinner, and Monday night’s rock show, and Tuesday’s closing cocktail hour! As usual, we have totally overdone it, but it will be so worth it. The clock is ticking so register today or apply for a musicians’ scholarship.
See you in T-minus 5!