It might not be the same kind of “open internet” issue the FCC had in mind, or tried to establish, in the net neutrality regulations last year, but “the test for the FCC might be: are they applying the cap to ALL data, or is discrimination happening,” notes Kevin Erickson, spokesperson for the Washington, DC-based Future of Music Coalition. “Granted, streaming video is the way most users would get to the point of that much data usage, but they may not be, technically. Obviously, Comcast would prefer for you to do your binge watching through their Xfinity platform, rather than through Netflix or other ‘over-the-top’ services.
Artists have always struggled to make ends meet, and more so since the drop in sales of physical product, i.e. CDS, cassettes, vinyl, and VHS music videos. A survey of the Future of Music Coalition claims musicians make, on average, $34K a year. Even if true, this figure does not take into account touring and recording expenses. And the business is not made up of the likes of Rihanna or Kenny Chesney who easily make more than $10M a year.
On December 16, a relatively obscure U.S. administrative body issued rules with broad implications for online music. Every five years, the Copyright Royalty Board, or CRB, determines the rates that non-interactive services like Pandora and iHeartRadio will pay to stream sound recordings online. The details are dizzyingy complex, but this time around the bigger Internet radio companies generally cheered the ruling, while SoundExchange, the organization set up to distribute these royalties to artists and copyright holders, expressed disappointment. One set of stakeholders, though, raised existential alarm about the new terms: small, independent webcasters. […] read more
Dish Network made a similar claim, telling the FCC last month that the mergers would “result in two broadband providers controlling about 90 percent of the nation’s high-speed broadband homes between them.” Dish is a member of the Stop Mega Cable group, along with Public Knowledge; Cincinnati Bell; Common Cause; Consumers Union; Dish Network; FairPoint Communications; Future of Music Coalition; Greenlining Institute; ITTA Media Alliance; Open Technology Institute at New America; NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association; Sports Fans Coalition USTelecom; Writers Guild of America, East; Writers Guild of America, West; and Zoom Telephonics. read more
The annual meeting of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters kicked off with a wide ranging discussion of the impact of technology on the arts. Led by Jean Cook from the Future of Music Coalition, a panel of artists and representatives of arts service organizations touched on many different ways that technology is changing the lives of artists, presenters, and audiences. Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focused on the new level of uncertainty that digital technologies bring to artists’ always unpredictable livelihoods, while other parts of the conversation covered new ways that artists can use technology to expand their creative options.
The value investors place on these companies suggests 2015 was an especially difficult year for radio to compete with the Web. This means our songwriters will also feel that.
To Marc Beeson and other music creators in Nashville, the Future of Music Coalition — a 15-year-old organization of activist music creators — holds promise that they can find parity between those who create the art with those who exploit it. Most look to Washington for the answer, and that’s where it will likely come from.
Separately, a Washington, D.C.-based advocate called Russell’s claim “essentially correct.” Kevin Erickson of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit that says it supports a “musical ecosystem where artists flourish and are compensated fairly and transparently for their work,” added by email: “For a variety of reasons, it can be difficult to get complete information on which countries pay for the performance right. Iran and North Korea do not currently pay. China is a bit more ambiguous right now; there may have been a deal struck. We’ve also gotten some conflicting information on Afghanistan and Rwanda.” read more
For balance, here’s the Future of Music Coalition, which is quoted in the piece, taking issue with some of the details. “If you want to know how musicians are faring,” the collective writes, “you have to ask musicians. You’ll get different answers from different musicians, and they’ll all be correct in terms of their own experiences. But your overall understanding will better reflect the complexity of the landscape.”
I waited off to the side, reporting on the Future of Music Coalition’s annual policy summit in Washington, DC. “Would you be willing to come speak to my class sometime?” one of her alma mater professors asked, to which she agreed. Another colleague leaned in for a hug. Things quieted down a bit, and both women graciously agreed to an audio interview. Without further ado, here’s our conversation about the music industry, creativity, women in business, and thoughts on the question: Can the world can be saved?
Future of Music Coalition has conducted an earnings survey among US composers and musicians and followed it up with detailed financial case studies.
They arrived at the conclusion that there are 42 ways that musicians are augmenting their income, including ringtone revenue (big for Boccherini), ‘neighboring rights royalties’ (is that the people next door paying you to let them sleep?) and ‘composing original works for broadcast’ (not much money there).
That’s 42 ways to feed the family.
Then they found three more. Read the full 45 here.