Artist Activism

Philadelphia Scraps Live Music Bill After Outcry from Music Community

by Nicole Daley, policy intern

 

Philadelphia is known for its vibrant music scene, which runs the gamut from doo wop to hip-hop to funk to electronic and beyond. But if a bill proposed by city councilman Mark Squilla giving local police veto power over music performances had become law, Philly’s incredible reputation as a vital music metropolis may have been over.

 

Squilla’s billl (there’s a band name for ya) would have amended the Special Amendment Occupancy License (SAOL) process of the city code. Thankfully, in response to intense opposition from constituents and the local music community, the councilman has decided to withdraw the bill. You can go ahead and take a moment to cheer.

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Music Recommendation & Digital Payola

By guest blogger Taylor Lambert and Kevin Erickson

In the age of on-demand streaming, it’s common to hear people talk about music as “limitless”— something that flows forth endlessly like water. Indeed, musicians around the world release a huge volume of new music every day. But in practice, most consumers’ exposure to the world of new music is extremely limited. It’s one of the thorniest problems—if there’s so much music out there, why do consumers end up being exposed to so little of it? Why should the music marketplace be a winner-take-all system?

Of course, whether or not you view this as a problem to be solved could depend on whether you’re fortunate enough to be one of the “winners.” Still, media critics have long pointed to the role of gatekeepers who exercise considerable control what music reaches audiences. From radio programmers to retail managers to talent buyers to music reviewers and beyond, the most powerful labels do their best to keep their offerings front and center—often at the expense of independents. Radio is the still the number one source of “music discovery,” but commercial AM/FM radio broadcasters in this era of ownership consolidation tend to be highly risk-averse in their programming choices. Playlists are narrow and repetitive, as our research has documented. It has been the strong hope of the independent sector that online music services would be more democratic, allowing more artists to find audiences than was possible in the old-school media world.

Submitted by kevin on June 10, 2014 - 8:48am
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