Every year, the nonprofit Future of Music Coalition hosts a summit that tackles the trickiest issues facing musicians today, and it’s not afraid to get into the weeds.
At this year’s conference, held in October at Georgetown University in D.C., musicians, educators, reps and DJs took on the big subjects, including music education and the modern role of radio. But many panels went deeper, examining the nuts-and-bolts of the digital music economy — and exposing new fault lines in the process.
Here are the three biggest ideas I heard at this year’s Future of Music Policy Summit. read more
The lunch line was bustling in the Hoya food court. The Future of Music Coalition’s 15th Annual Policy Summit was well underway at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and I was hungry. I had set out to procure a veggie burger. I found it, and the future of music sales. And to think I would have been excited about a side of fries…
It happened like this: While waiting in the cue, two guys in Peertracks polo shirts walked up, also foraging for lunch. We got to chatting, and they explained how they were building a way to sell music with blockchain technology (think Bitcoin), and take it directly peer-to-peer. “Like an iTunes killer?” I queried, eagerly asking if they’d do an interview. The result of this conversation is what you’ll hear in a moment. read more
In a video accompanying an Indiegogo campaign, Downtown Boys’ singer Victoria Ruiz announced the launch of Spark Mag, an online magazine dedicated to giving radical, politically minded musicians of all genres a platform to express their ideas directly to fans via weekly interviews and artist-penned editorials. Spearheaded by grassroots activists Demand Progress, in collaboration with IMPOSE Magazine and the Future of Music Coalition, the magazine will be edited by Ruiz and fellow Downtown Boys member Joey La Neve DeFrancesco. Their goal is to connect artists, activists and fans to utilize culture to effect social change. The website already features writing from Priests, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, and profiles of Algiers and Abdul Ali. read more
The Future of Music Coalition, a D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for the rights and proper compensation of artists in the evolving industry, held its first policy summit in 2000, and since then has been bringing musicians, producers, major label representatives and government officials together to discuss and debate the most pressing policy issues for content creators and policy leaders in the music industry. Many of the pressing issues discussed included music streaming, data, artist compensation, touring, artist management, and artist advocacy.
Downtown Boys have partnered with DemandProgress.org, Future of Music Coalition, and Impose Magazine to launch Spark Mag, a new culture website whose aim is to publicize the music of radical and politically-minded artists from all genres and to connect them with fans and the organizing campaigns these artists have been working on for years. Spark Mag aims to highlight artists who may receive less coverage for their work because of their radical views.
Panelists at the Future of Music Policy Summit’s “Cracking the Streaming Code” explained that the current pro-rata model incentivizes clicks, which favors big-name artists rather than those with a smaller but devoted fan base. The pro-rata system counts the total number of clicks in a given period, then divides the subscriber fees proportionately based on artists’ total clicks. If a subscriber pays $10 per month to use a streaming service and exclusively listens to a non-mainstream band, most of that money goes to other artists that get more clicks.
Introduction to new cultural and political website, the “Spark Mag,” at theSparkMag.com. Grassroots activist group Demand Progress—partnering with Future of Music Coalition, Impose Magazine, and political rock band Downtown Boys—has launched its new culture website called “Spark Mag.” read more
The future of radio might just reside, at least in part, in these LPFM stations. Marika Partridge has been in radio for most of her career and spoke with Geeks and Beats before joining a panel on the topic at the Future of Music Coalition’s Music Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. recently. After several years in Alaska, she moved to Washington to serve as an engineer and, later, producer of NPR’s All Things Considered. She’s been a driving force behind the creation of Takoma Radio, an LPFM station scheduled to go live early next year in the DC suburbs.
Apple and Google have both launched paid platforms for music streaming, which allows unlimited, on-demand selection of songs online.
“If Adele decides to not have her music on streaming for a certain period of time, that is going to send a strong signal to other artists”, said Casey Rae, chief executive of the Future of Music Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group. The 30-second format helps ensure that users don’t get bored with the songs, but it also has a nifty legal function: It sharply reduces royalty fees Facebook has to pay.
Direct deals by consolidated music publishers are de facto anticompetitive, lacking in transparency and potentially harmful for songwriters. At the recent round of music licensing hearings before Congress, BMI addressed the issue of “interim licensing.” Both ASCAP and BMI have the ability to negotiate interim fees.