If you follow this blog, you know that FMC spends a lot of time thinking about metadata, a shorthand term that can mean a lot of things including the information about who wrote a song, or who played on a recording. We’ve looked at the problems from different angles, examined the wide range of possible solutions, and attended metadata conferences. This month’s Future of Music Policy Summit will have some special sessions that tackle metadata, so we asked FMC’s director of programs Jean Cook six questions about the topic.
Event hosted by the United States Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
My name is Casey Rae and I’m the VP of policy and education for Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit organization for musicians. Future of Music works in three areas: research, education and advocacy. We came together back in 2000, right around the time of the initial digital disruption. Over the last 14 years, we have analyzed and documented trends in the music sector, translated complex policy and legal issues for our musician and composer constituency, and produced original research on everything from artists’ access to healthcare to commercial radio consolidation to our most recent study on artist revenue streams. read more
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.
20.7 million Americans (8.8% of all US adults) attended a classical music performance in 2012, according to the National Endowment for the Arts’ recent survey highlights. 19 million (8.1%) attended a jazz gig. But if these millions of classical & jazz fans tried to use any of the most popular digital music services to access classical or jazz music at home, they’d likely end up confused and unable to find what they’re looking for. read more
This post co-authored by FMC Communications Intern Olivia Brown
The big music biz news this week is all about the launch of Google’s new subscription streaming music service. But that’s not the only development in the world of streaming. Last week, at the annual NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Convention, one of the first such services, Rhapsody, announced that it would be the first major digital music service to join the Recording Academy’s new “Give Fans The Credit” initiative. The campaign aims to make songwriter, performer, producer, and other credits widely available to digital music consumers at a time when physical media sales — along with liner notes — are on the wane.
This post authored by FMC communications intern Olivia Brown
Metadata. Sounds like a android with irony issues. But it’s actually important to musicians and composers.
So what is it? Metadata is information that lives with every file on your computer. Through a mix of words and numbers, metadata describes files so that they can be managed by both the user and the system. In the case of a music file, metadata refers to the tags associated with a particular piece of music — such as the artist, album name, year of release, etc. These tags are definitely useful for the listener in keeping track of a digital collection. For artists, it’s about tracking for downloads and plays, which can ensure timely and accurate compensation.
Unfortunately, not all systems to organize metadata are created equal. Non-rock artists, especially jazz and classical musicians, have borne the brunt of some of the most poorly organized metadata out there. This is largely because the new business models are often developed with only popular music in mind.
When Jarrod Bramson of the indie-folk band The Solvents discovered that someone named Aron Lyrd was passing off Solvents songs as his own and selling them on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon, he was understandably frustrated. As Bramson explained on his website:
“I joined a website called sonicbids.com because I wanted to submit an application to Bumbershoot. I was looking around the site, checking out other services they had to offer. I came across this company that helps artists submit their music to television and movie producers. I was interested so I started looking a little deeper. I noticed that at the bottom of their page, there are comments from artists that have submitted. For some reason or another, I noticed this guy, Aron Lyrd. His profile picture was him in a ninja suit with some nunchucks!
…..he just made me laugh for some reason. I had to check out his music…
…so I click on the featured song “orange ambition” on his E.P.K.(electronic press kit) and… MYSONGCAMEON!!!”
Upon further investigation, Bramson realized this nunchaku-bearing, big-talking musician was an amalgam of no less than five fairly distinct and acclaimed bands; all of the music Lyrd was selling appeared to be other people’s sound recordings with the song titles and artist data changed. Bramson contacted the digital retailers to try to have his appropriated songs removed from Lyrd’s catalog with mixed success. As of this week, CDBaby and iTunes have both yanked the infringing tracks, but they remain available for purchase at Amazon.
Recently, All Things Digital’s MediaMemo reported on some anonymous-insider murmurings (are there any other kind?) about Sony and other major labels prepping to launch a classical music-oriented digital store. (According to the rumors, jazz is a possibility as well.)
But why a genre-specific download store? Isn’t classical music available at other sites and services?
We've told you a bit about the amazing panels, special conversations and presentations at the 2009 Future of Music Policy Summit (Oct. 4-6, Georgetown University, Washington, DC), but we're also excited about the wide range of breakout sessions, side meetings and workshops that take place on Tuesday, Oct. 6. From legendary producer Sandy Pearlman's "The Cloud vs.read more