What’s the Future for Musicians? Chicago

Today’s music landscape is filled with both excitement and foreboding. With so many new technologies and ways to promote and distribute music, how do performers, composers, songwriters and independent labels know how to participate, who to trust, and what is most effective?

FMC worked with the Old Town School of Folk Music and other musician organizations to program our fifth “What’s the Future for Musicians?” educational event, this one in Chicago on One Web Day — September 22, 2008.

This seminar educated musicians and label owners from a range of genres – classical, jazz, rock, folk and hip-hop – about the critical issues at the intersection of music, law, technology and policy, with the goal of better preparing musicians to participate in the issues that affect their livelihood.

Special conversation with founders of Chicago-based record label The Numero Group

Panels on:

  • how musicians can use emerging technologies to promote and distribute their work
  • health insurance for musicians
  • the state and federal policies that are affecting how musicians access media, and how they will be compensated in the future

Breakouts and roundtables on:

  • new revenue review
  • podcasting/webcasting
  • media activism
  • the greening of music
  • Chicago/Illinois based initiatives and funding opportunities

Building a Musicians’ Middle Class

Eight years ago, Future of Music Coalition was conceived as an organization that would work to build structures to create a musicians’ middle class. It was clear to us that, while the music industry has made a handful of artists very wealthy, the vast majority of musicians live gig-to-gig, unable to afford the basic protections and securities of life that allow them to continue making their art and, equally important, without a way to educate themselves to break out of this cycle.

Since our 2000 founding, we have focused on elements that would allow musicians to better participate in the issues that affect their livelihood: encouraging the development of digital distribution models that reduce costs and increase connections between musicians and their fans; examining new business models that create more equal partnerships between creators, labels and consumers; fighting against payola and media consolidation that reduce artists’ chances of radio airplay; advocating for net neutrality provisions to ensure that all legal Internet traffic is treated equally; and helping musicians navigate the often-confusing world of health insurance coverage. We want musicians’ labor to be valued, we want them to be compensated for their work, we want them to understand how the myriad laws and regulations affect them, and we want them to have access to basic health insurance and medical services.

Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL, 60625
United States



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