Effective April 1, Ann Chaitovitz is transitioning from Executive Director to a consultant position on key legal policy issues for FMC, and will rejoin FMC’s Advisory Board. We’re very proud of what she accomplished during her tenure at FMC and look forward to continuing our work together.
As Jean Cook says in the official press release, “Ann’s deep knowledge and tireless commitment has helped the organization effectively advocate for musicians on a range of critical issues — and not only during her tenure as Executive Director.” Ann has been a part of FMC’s orbit pretty much since the beginning, and we expect she’ll continue to have a positive impact on our work.
Jean will serve as FMC’s Interim Executive Director. The remainder of the staff retain their positions, with FMC co-founder Michael Bracy as Policy Director (and Board President), Kristin Thomson as Education Director and Senior Advisor, Casey Rae-Hunter as Communications Director, Chhaya Kapadia as Events Organizer and Nicole Duffey as Operations Coordinator.
Feel free to reach out with any questions.
On April 2, FMC released “Principles for Musician Compensation in New Business Models” (or “Artist Principles”) — a set of guidelines for ensuring creator compensation in an evolving music landscape. Crafted by Ann Chaitovitz with input from over a dozen industry experts, the Principles represent an important first step in ongoing discussions about musicians’ revenue streams.
Launching a music site or service that’s simultaneously affordable, appealing to music fans and fair to rightsholders is obviously difficult, especially in today’s economy. Yet from the beginning, FMC has stood for the right of musicians to be paid for their work, so we want make sure that artists aren’t overlooked in the ongoing experimentation with new music business models.
The Principles are primarily meant to apply to music services that have yet to be brought to market. But, FMC also knows it’s important to learn from the past. Some of the key points are informed by what we’ve observed with the launch of existing services like MySpace Music. In that instance, the major labels entered a joint venture with the social network that reportedly included a cut of the advertising and equity stakes in the enterprise. Yet there was no indication about whether the labels plan to share that equity or ad dollars with their artists.
We’ve even drafted a point-by-point explanation of each principle, offering examples and what we think are possible ways forward, which you can read here.
Clearly, there’s no silver bullet solution to the challenges currently faced by artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. Yet, as always, we think the best thing to get a conversation going. And Artist Principles already have — check out some select press:
Pitchfork | Digital Music News | Ars Technica | Billboard
FMC is into Low-Power FM and we think you should be, too! Too often the commercial stations don’t play indie or niche music, and LPFM in more areas would help local and independent artists get heard on the airwaves. Of course LPFM has plenty of other uses, too — these “micro stations” could make broadcasting a real possibility for schools, labor unions, churches and non-profit groups.
In February, new legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that would make LPFM a reality for American more towns and cities. March saw the introduction of a Senate companion bill. Now, FMC is joining groups like Prometheus Radio Project to demonstrate how LPFM would have a positive impact on the public airwaves.
On April 23, LPFM advocates will offer a Policy Briefing on the Hill (exact location TBD). Following introductions by Representatives Mike Doyle and Lee Terry is a panel discussion moderated by Parul Desai of Media Access Project and featuring singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins, Liz Hume of WRIR LP (Richmond, VA), Jim Price of WBFC-LP (Ringold, GA), Erubiel Vallardes of the farmworker-run KPCN LP (Woodburne, OR) and Cheryl Leanza of the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communications.
FMC will also be kicking off an LPFM video project featuring testimonials from musicians of all stripes. We just need to come up with a snazzy title. Maybe you can help! E-mail casey [at] futureofmusic [dot] org with your suggestions.
Following the briefing, LPFM supporters from around the country will visit with their Congressional representatives to explain how important local radio is to their communities. All in a day’s work for community broadcasting.
Check out our LPFM fact sheet for more info.
Not long after you get this newsletter, FMC will release its anticipated radio playlist report, “Same Old Song: Measuring the Effect of the FCC’s Payola Consent Decrees on Radio Playlists.”
The new study is the data-centric cousin of two of our most recent reports: our Payola Education Guide and “More Static,” which features the results of surveys and interviews with label members of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM). Payola Education Guide (June 12, 2008) | More Static: Independent Labels and Commercial Airplay (October 22, 2008) It’s been two years since the FCC and four radio station group owners came to the set of voluntary agreements as a response to collected evidence and allegations about payola. In addition to agreeing to adhere to eight “Rules of Engagement” and to pay fines totaling $12.5 million, A2IM negotiated an “indie set aside,” in which these four group owners voluntarily agreed to collectively air 4,200 hours of local, regional and unsigned artists, and artists affiliated with independent labels. The “Same Old Song” report examines whether the agreements have any effect on what gets played on the radio. Using data licensed from Mediaguide, FMC asked the following questions:
The report summarizes playlist data from four years of airplay — 2005-2008 — from national playlists, and from seven specific music formats: AC, Urban AC, Active Rock, Country, CHR/Top 40, Triple A Commercial and Triple A Non-Commercial.
We’d love to tell you the results now, but alas, you’ll just have to visit the Research page on our website next week. http://www.futureofmusic.org/research/
One thing we noticed while putting together our radio playlist tracking report is that it’s very difficult (and not to mention expensive) for small non-profits like FMC to collect and analyze data to measure the effects of policy. Many public interest groups (including FMC) have long called for the FCC to do this work itself — after all, it is the independent agency tasked with overseeing radio. Well, on Wednesday, April 8, the FCC held an “Open Agenda” meeting where basically they said as much.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss steps the agency would take to expand broadband, determine competition in the video marketplace and collect data on female and minority ownership among broadcast station owners. But the theme of the day was definitely better data collection across the board.
FMC understands that the FCC needs to collect and analyze quality information in order to properly oversee the broadcast industry. Without it, there’s really no way to set goals and measure outcomes. That’s why we were psyched to hear that the Commission gets it, too. For a more detailed account of the meeting, check out this blog post.
FMC co-founder and Technologies Director Brian Zisk is busy gearing up for the next SanFranMusicTech Summit, which takes place at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco on May 18. SFMT brings together the best and brightest developers in the music/technology space, along with the artists, entrepreneurial business people, press, investors, service providers, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce.
Expect a wide variety of luminary entrepreneurs, developers, musicians, press, investors etc, from the Bay Area and around the world. Speakers include FMC’s Jean Cook and Kristin Thomson, Tim Westergren of Pandora, Zahavah Levine of YouTube, Dean Hudson of Sub Pop Records, and FMC advisory board members Josh Wattles (entertainment and copyright lawyer) and Jim Griffin (Choruss/Onehouse). And that’s just to name a few.
Panel topics range from “Monetization” to “Recording Studios of the Future,” and the event also offers CLE Credits and sessions geared to developers. There’s also a dinner gathering the night before, and — everyone’s favorite — a post-Summit cocktail party.
Brian says this will likely be the only SFMT Summit in 2009, so you definitely won’t want to miss it. Prices go up on April 20th, and again at the end of April, but for the FMC faithful, Brian is offering a discount code “fmc” which will bring the ticket price down 20 percent. He looks very much forward to seeing some of you there!
Head to the official website for more information and to register.
Here’s something for your RSS feed and/or bookmarks folder: Slim Moon — founder of the indie label Kill Rock Stars and FMC advisory board member — has a new column at the megablog The Daily Swarm called “Ask Slim Moon.” Which means you can think up a question, and, if the oracle that is Slim favors your query, he’ll answer it before the entire internets. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Head here to check it out.
It seems like right before and right after Austin’s South By Southwest conference all you hear about is, well, SXSW. So we’ll keep it short. FMC’s Jean Cook set some sort of record, rocking the violin at 9 different shows in three days and super-genius FMC associates participated in super-brilliant panels. Check out this blog post for the deets.
On March 27, FMC co-founder and General Counsel Walter McDonough appeared at Berklee College of Music’s Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association Conference. Walter spoke on a panel called “Marketing and Distribution in a Digital World,” alongside Storm Gloor, Andrea Johnson and FMC advisory board members Ian Rogers and Jim Griffin. You can check out a recap at the Topspin Media blog.
Yes, you read that right. FMC is currently hiring for two positions: International Project Fellow and freelance Event Sponsorship Coordinator. For the Int’l Fellow position, we’re looking for individuals to work in 5+ month terms and help research and interview musicians and music business people from around the world. Duties include research on musicians, regions, businesses; logistics coordination for interviews and international trips; coordinating and organizing interview transcripts. Depending on skills, experience level, and needs of the project/timing, fellows may also conduct interviews and/or travel with team as road/logistics manager on a trip and/or participate in report writing. The Sponsorship Coordinator will assist us in researching sponsorship opportunities and approaching potential sponsors for a music/law/technology/policy event in fall 2009. For more information on both of these opportunities and to apply, head to our Jobs page.