Earlier this month, the New York Times Magazine reached out to Future of Music Coalition with regard to a forthcoming feature. We like to help out with this sort of thing, because we know that music business structures and practices can be quite complicated, and think it’s important that journalists get the facts and context as correct as possible, whatever narrative they’re advancing. Last week, fact-checkers from the magazine followed up with FMC staff. There was a good deal of back and forth as we were provided short paragraphs, and later, individual sentences, from the article and asked to verify whether they were “true.” (Unfortunately, we weren’t provided with much context.)
Alas, what ended up running was rather disappointing.NYT Magazine chose to publish without substantive change most of the things that we told them were either: a) not accurate or b) not verifiable because there is no industry consensus and the “facts” could really go either way.
Thank you to all of our panelists and participants for an amazing weekend. Sign up for the FMC newsletter to get first word on upcoming events and workshops.
Future of Music Coalition (FMC) and the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) present a new workshop focused on the unique needs and challenges of working musicians.
How can you earn more money from your music? Are there revenue streams you don’t know about that you ought to be collecting? Join FMC’s Jean Cook, Project Director for the Artist Revenue Stream projectfor a presentation on the many ways musicians can make maximize their earning potential at a Chamber Music of America event this Tuesday afternoon in NYC.
The event is part of CMA’s series of First Tuesday Workshops, a monthly seminar event featuring leaders in the music industry. An array of topics have been featured in the past including digital music making, video production, music business, audio streaming and more.
Jean will be drawing from lessons learned through FMC’s Artist Revenue Streams research project, a groundbreaking multi-year study assessing how musicians’ revenues are changing in the contemporary marketplace.
The event is on Tuesday, March 4th, 3-5 pm at New York City’s Saint Peters Church. You can RSVPhere. For those who can’t make it in person, the event will be streamed live at www.chamber-music.org, and will be archived in CMA’s online video library.
Last week, SoundExchange, the non-profit entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties announced its plans to send out more frequent payments to eligible artists and labels. In the past payments were sent quarterly, but beginning this month payments will be deposited monthly.
As SoundExchange President and CEOMichael Huppe said, “By making performance royalties available sooner, we are making it easier for recording artists and record labels to focus on creating the music we all enjoy.”
This might sound like a minor accounting tweak. But for middle-class recording artists and struggling indie labels, it could be massively helpful. Here’s why.
On today’s Your Call, we’ll talk about how the Internet continues to change the music economy. Because of services like Spotify, Pandora and YouTube, musicians are constantly looking for new ways to make a living. How do these services compensate musicians? As for touring, even musicians who have a solid fan base say it’s difficult to get the number of bookings they need to earn a living. So how are independent musicians surviving? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and you.
Guests include Kristin Thomson, consultant for the nonprofit Future of Music Coalition. She is co-director of FMC’s Artist Revenue Streams research project, a study examining how US-based musicians’ revenue streams are changing, and why.
The internet-fueled debate about the pros and cons of Spotify went another round last week, with contributions by David Byrne, Dave Allen, Jay Frank, Bob Lefsetz and Fast Company. I read them all, as I’ve done with the previous public debates about whether Spotify is a good or bad thing for musicians. As an indie record label owner and a long-time advocate for musicians, I care deeply about these debates and, more importantly, about ensuring musicians and songwriters are fairly compensated for their work.
Today, I posted a long-ish thought piece about this on Music Think Tank. Instead of focusing on the arguments about the fraction-of-a-penny rate per play, the article suggests some other changes to these music services that might make a substantive difference for musicians, songwriters and fans.
To the casual observer, musicians probably seem like a disorganized bunch. Unlike doctors or lawyers, there are no qualifying exams or prerequisites that certify a musician’s level of “professionalism.” On a group level, there is no central organization that represents their collective interests.
But that’s not the case. In addition to record labels, booking agents, managers and other teammates, musicians and songwriters can align with a vast array of music-related organizations that serve a number of purposes, everything from performance rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange, to unions like AFM and SAG-AFTRA, to genre- or role-based organizations like Folk Alliance, Chamber Music America, or the Songwriters Guild.
As musicians and advocates, we at FMC know that these organizations serve an important purpose, and we have a sense that membership makes a difference. But in what ways? Do musicians that belong to certain organizations participate in more revenue streams? Do they make more money because of these allegiances? Or is the inverse true; do particular types of work make it possible and/or necessary for musicians to join certain organizations?
The first time I saw singer/songwriter Alexandra Niedzialkowski perform under the moniker Cumulus was six years ago at the small town artist space/venue where we both lived. It was an auspicious debut, highlighting her disarmingly intimate voice and a spark of charisma that more than outshone any beginners’ nervousness. read more
On Thursday, May 16, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition Policy and the Internet held a hearing entitled “A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project.”
FMC’s written testimony, which was submitted to the Committee for the official record, makes the basic point that creators must be included in future hearings, as their perspectives will help inform any apparaisal of the impact of existing (or proposed) rules. We also examine specific issues that we believe the Committee should examine in the course of its review of current copyright law.
House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property,
Competition Policy and the Internet
2138 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
May 17, 2013
Dear Chairman Goodlatte, Congressman Quayle and members of the committee:
It is a privilege to submit the following testimony for the record in this initial hearing on matters relating to U.S. copyright law.