On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, FMC will host its 11th Future of Music Summit in Washington, DC. Our ELEVENTH! As always, the event will tackle the emerging issues at the intersection of music, technology, law and policy. Our goal is to bring together stakeholders with different – even opposing – views, so we can dissect and discuss complicated topics, giving musicians a clearer sense of the issues, the players, and how decisions made by policymakers in Washington, DC might affect their livelihood.
This year’s event packs a ton of programming into a nine hour schedule, including a keynote by Senator Ron Wyden, a discussion with Pandora’s Tim Westergren, and panels covering everything from webcasting rates to arts funding in the second term of the Obama administration. Check out the entire schedule here.
One of the other things that we strive to do with every event is to hear from musicians directly. That’s why I’m very excited about the panel that I’m moderating: Making Music-Making Work for Working Musicians. A tongue-twister of a title, this panel includes three working musicians (and two dormant musicians), each playing very distinct roles in different genres. We have:
Benjamin Weinman, lead guitarist and founding member of the mathcore band The Dillinger Escape Plan (pictured above, AP photo). Since starting in 1997, Dillinger has released a slew of records, toured the world and nurtured a huge and dedicated fanbase.
Jennifer Mondie, violist for the National Symphony Orchestra. Jennifer, who is also an AFM member, has been with the NSO since 1995 and currently serves as the Orchestra Committee Chairman.
Rodney Whittenberg, owner of Melodyvision, and Emmy-winning composer for film and TV. Rodney wears many musical hats, from composer to videographer, to studio producer, to musician himself. He’s also a teacher and an active member of the Recording Academy.
We also have:
Benji Rogers, founder and CEO of Pledge Music. Pledge is a service that helps artists and bands design a tailored fundraising campaign to raise money for their next release. In earlier years, Benji released music and toured the UK and Europe.
Chris Ruen, author of the new book Freeloading: How our Insatiable Hunger for Free Culture Starves Creativity. Chris is an active culture journalist and music fan who has been doing some smart writing about music consumers’ role in artist compensation.
Together, we will talk about the revenue generating possibilities for musicians and composers, how they are changing, and why. For instance, how are services like Pledge Music changing the nature of artist development and project funding? What are the challenges for bands that rely heavily on income from touring? Have orchestras diversified any of their revenue steams, and do the players benefit from any of that beyond their salaries? How are screen composers faring? And, what can we all do — musicians, technologists and policymakers alike — to steer consumers towards services that encourage discovery but also ensure compensation for creators?
Most conversations about artists and money focus on touring bands and pop stars, the most visible musicians in popular culture. But if there’s one overarching thing that we learned from our Artist Revenue Streams work, it’s that the US musician community is large, diverse and specialized. It includes composers and songwriters who do not perform, performers who do not compose, session players, background singers, and musicians working in every genre. That’s why conversations that cut across role and genre are so, so critical. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges facing musicians today, but there’s a lot we can learn from each other by simply talking about how it works in our community, finding common ground and respecting the differences.
I have a page full of questions prepared for this panel, but I also want to hear from you. What questions do you have for these musicians? Leave a comment below or email me at kristin [at] futureofmusic [dot] org (subject: FMC%20blog%20post%3A%20quesstion%20for%20panelists) .
And tune in next Tuesday! Learn about the webcast here, or follow the conversation on Twitter at #FMC12.